Australian Matt Lunson will be a familiar name to those acquainted with the singer-songwriter community - the same community that's been spread increasingly thinly across Dublin's venues in recent years. Perhaps it was the shift in focus from lip-petting troubadours to a vibrant, healthy Irish music scene, then, that inspired the Tasmanian to gather a band around him after his solo career failed to catch fire. One Day International, the Dublin-based five piece formed just last year, have crafted an accomplished debut record in a relatively short space of time, and with Lunson at their vanguard, have an assured and competent frontman.
Produced by former Bell X1 guitarist Brian Crosby, Blackbird is a collection of rich, finely-tuned and melodic pop songs, taking in lush string arrangements and quietly extravagant orchestral climaxes. They'd probably shirk the comparison in dismay, but many of these tracks - particularly the numerous piano-led ones - plough a furrow similar to Keane's inoffensive overtures (Closed Doors, Miss Your Mouth and Aliens, in particular).
It's when the band sidestep the tiresome ballad formula - unfortunately, slightly overdone here - that their Blackbird's song is at its sweetest. The dark, glittering croak of Little Death becomes a sweeping, choral fantasy; Lead Balloon's theatrical, staid waltz is a Rufus Wainwright-style flight of fancy, and the use of a spectral piano riff on Big Surprise provides a deliciously eerie ambience.
These are undoubtedly pleasant songs, and the potential for greatness within the One Day International camp is marked. Still, though: if a blatant lack of originality threatens to mar this album, it certainly doesn't prevent it from being an agreeable, if occasionally samey listen.