Baby Dayliner

High Heart & Low Estate

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Ethan Marunas is Baby Dayliner, a virtual one-man band from Brooklyn along the lines of groups like Laptop. But the musician's greatest strengths lie in him melding the simple synth pop of New Order circa Temptation with the highbrow pop aesthetics of singers like Rufus Wainwright or Morrissey. This is perfected on the opening "Raid!," which sounds contemporary yet dated at the same time. Pulp and Franz Ferdinand are also brought to mind on the track as it ambles along with a danceable, infectious rhythm. "Hoodlums in the Hit Parade" is a softer, melodic tune that throws pointed barbs at the music industry in a style mindful of Talking Heads. "Party Scenes" is another nugget that directly complements Bowie's "TVC 15," even down to the Thin White Duke's timbre on some lines. The breezy and lounge-like "Madeline" is a softer curveball given tone thus far, complete with steel drums as percussion. Unfortunately, the first tune that comes up a bit short is the Depeche Mode-like "Beat Downs," which starts off well but doesn't sound entirely ripe. Baby Dayliner uses lullaby melodies to get his messages across, and this works brilliantly on the string-laced title tune, sounding like it belongs on David Byrne's Grown Backwards album. "I am well dressed but an emotional slob," he sings as the tune rolls along nicely. "Can't Believe" is perhaps the watershed moment, starting off with a somber tone despite its uplifting beat. "Dead Ladies" marks the first hint of a filler tune, which seems too light for its own good. Thankfully he atones for it with a catchy yet quirky "I'll Be Your Counterpart." The kitsch rap of "Shah With That" is a bit like Eminem mocking himself.

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