Seizing the Forrest Day 

CD Review

On California-based Forrest Day's new self-titled, self-released album, the jazzy hip-hop group brings together a number of different musical genres that don't always get along and makes them play nice.

Singer/producer/songwriter/saxophonist Forrest Day, for whom the band is named, possesses a style like Matisyahu, able to mix quick-tongued verses with more traditional rock and soul. With his beer gut and beard, Day looks like an everyman, and first-time listeners will probably be surprised to hear him rap--and do it so well.

Forrest Day the five-piece band has played sets at venues like the Great American Music Hall, using live shows to earn a fair amount of buzz, and the group's recorded material should keep that happening.

This album is grounded in the courtship between simple and addictive instrumentals, often anchored by a trance-inducing keyboard and ska-esque horns, and Day's ability to sing/rap with a confidence and style all his own.

Adding to the band's value as a one-of-a-kind group, the lyrics, in large contrast to the classic sound of the music, are relatable--and often hilarious.

On the track, "If You Do," the band lays down a pop sound, which gives Day the opportunity to do his thing. He sings, "I'm always running down the street with my sax / running late and every time before the show to just relax / I'm an idiot, the psycho running my mouth over tracks, I'm a sad piece of shit / these aren't opinions these are facts."

Throughout the album, Day makes brutally honest observations about himself, which makes him nearly impossible not to like.

Known most for their high-energy live shows, Forrest Day's sound is sharpened on this album: The saxophones and keyboard give it a Maroon 5-meets-Reel Big Fish vibe that is easy to listen to and gives Day a chance to utilize his talents on the mic. Although the live shows are hard to top, the studio album allows Day to harmonize with himself, giving the music depth.

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