Saturday, 10 October 2015

Review: RHODES – Wishes

Top tracks: Intro, Raise Your Love, Breathe, Your Soul
Songs to skip: Better

Now it’s been no secret on this blog that I love RHODES. If you need to catch up, he’s already featured in Dot to Dot Festival 2014, Dot to Dot 2015 and my post about Boardmasters. I was beyond excited for this album. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s the only thing I’ve ever pre-ordered from iTunes; usually I will listen to an album on Spotify first before committing to buying it.

One of the things I love most about RHODES’ music is that it feels unassuming and familiar, yet at the same time irrevocably haunting. His songs are beautiful in that melancholic way that sad narratives are captivatingly moving.

I was relieved that the album was produced so similarly to his EPs. There have been so many instances where I’ve loved a song by an artist, which has then been produced completely differently when it appears on the album, in a way that gives it a more commercial and generic sound. Thankfully RHODES steered well clear of this, and he’s kept the qualities that I adore about his music, such as the way his accompanying music seems to play as one stirring sound, leaving his alluring vocals to float over the top.

The album begins with a song titled Intro. I’ll be honest, I usually hate intros to albums and will skip them every time, but I can’t listen to Wishes without leading in with RHODES’ intro. Just before the release of the album, RHODES revealed a little about each of his tracks on Instagram, and he stated that Intro is ‘sort of coming to terms with whether or not everything [he] was giving to the music was going to be enough’. Well, this track proves right from the offset that it was enough; it builds up beautifully and showcases his vocal range and striking falsetto.

It moves so smoothly into the next track, Close Your Eyes, that the first couple of times I listened to the album I didn’t realise they were separate songs.

Although I love the new songs on the album, especially the likes of You & I, I think my absolute favourites are still some of the tracks from RHODES’ previously released EPS – Raise Your Love, Breathe and Your Soul. Breathe probably tops the list for me; although I love it even more live, when RHODES’ performance makes the words so much more genuine and you can really feel the struggle of the song.

There were a couple of songs, Somebody and Losing It, that I was initially unsure about, mostly because they build up so slowly. Not in the way that his other songs do, but in a more steady and underwhelming way. However, they build to such beautiful climaxes that make the slow development so worth the wait.

As I mentioned at the top of the post, Better is the only song I tend to skip on the album. It’s not that I dislike it, but it just doesn’t seem to have the same expressive quality as the rest of the tracks on the album.

As a dedicated RHODES fangirl, I obviously went for the Deluxe Version of the album, which I would thoroughly recommend, since it contains some great extra tracks such as Worry, Morning and a cover of Taylor Swift’s Blank Space. It also features an amazing song called Run, which I’m a little sad didn’t make the standard album, because it’s one of his most stunning songs.

One final thing that’s special about Wishes is that the album can suit so many different purposes and situations. It does make beautiful background music but, honestly, this album deserves your full undivided attention. The best way to listen to Wishes is to lie down, close your eyes and breathe in every last detail.


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