Two-man band producer/keyboardist Plex Luthor and MC Bernbiz have made Mayday!'s self-titled debut one of this year's pleasant surprises. Luthor's early production work for Miami groups like Algorithm and Spirit Agent was simple blues beats that sounded like bedroom soliloquies. In contrast, Mayday! is vivid and colorful, with sounds that range from the hard organ crush of "Watchin' Me" to the tinkling and echoing piano keys on "The Customer Is Always Right." (Luthor hasn't completely abandoned his old style, however, as "Nothin'" demonstrates.) Meanwhile, Bernbiz's rhymes are tight and concise. They range from "Micro/Macro," where he addresses the so-called war on terrorism, to "Angles," where he lays out his philosophy: "Cats have gotten far but not that far, dog / I see it everyday -- 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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Mosi Reeves