Mayday!'s self-titled debut is one of this year's pleasant surprises. The act (not to be confused with the Saddle Creek outfit of the same name) is the brainchild of producer/keyboardist Plex Luthor and MC Bernbiz. Luthor's early production work for Miami groups such as Algorithm and Spirit Agent offered simple blues beats that sounded like bedroom soliloquies. In contrast, Mayday! is vivid and colorful, with sounds that move from the hard organ crush of "Watchin' Me" to the tinkling and echoing piano keys on "The Customer Is Always Right." Meanwhile, Bernbiz's rhymes are tight and concise, especially in "Micro/Macro," where he addresses the so-called war on terrorism, and in "Angles," where he lays out his philosophy: "Cats have gotten far but not that far, dog/I see it every day -- ass, money and stardom/But everybody's gotta beg, borrow and rob/So I don't owe nobody shit, and I ain't paying for beats." In spite of the publicity that Cee-Lo's chorus on "Groundhog Day" lent them, Mayday!'s success is owed to Luthor and Bernbiz alone.


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