In 2013, things started happening to Baldock in Hertfordshire’s RHODES. His debut EP Raise Your Love was released on Hometown Records, (BBC Radio One’s Phil Taggart) and his songs began gaining radio play. In particular with ‘Your Soul’. A few EPs later and some time off, Wishes, the debut album arrived on September 18. It has been produced by long-time collaborator James Kenosha, which was a wise decision.
A new artist tumbles around the first few years with ideas and proposals, trying and fixating in on what their sound should be, coinciding with how their musical voice should be displayed. Choosing to stick with James Kenosha on his debut album meant the silver lining stayed intact from EP to LP.
The album opens up with ‘intro’, and spoiler alert, that track’s title is the only thing that irks me. Intros are simply peculiar to me. It asks the question “I don’t wanna fade away / Am I gonna make you happy?” Now, whether that’s a doubt towards something personal, or uncertainty towards the music industry and dealing with pleasing his audience, I cannot say, but we will leave it at that for now.
The universe of RHODES is filled with grand gestures, cathedral sounds, and I am tempted to mention Florence + The Machine in this context. While she has a completely different lyrical universe with vast metaphors and an almost fairytale way of conveying her songs, RHODES is a classic singer-songwriter when it comes to words.
A handful of songs are from previous released EPs, worth mentioning is ‘Your Soul’ that started it all. As is ‘Raise Your Love’ that takes the award for best song on the album. It’s lyrically the strongest, and melodically a perfect match between radio friendliness and how it is artistically voiced. With precision, he sings “It’s always on my mind now / the world I adore / caught up in a lie now / it feels like a war.” New mixes and productions of the older songs suit them very well. He avoided what many fails at when putting old songs onto something new and something tells me that was not accidental, because if Wishes is anything it is wholesome and nurtured into a complete and full album.
The title track ‘Wishes’ concludes the album with the lyrics “Wishes like a cold wind on my face / wishes I could warm a frozen lake / oh wishing / wishing you were here.” And now there is a possibly that ‘Intro’ was a doubt towards something personal. Because I do not think he has to worry about how he is being perceived. He definitely did not disappoint on his debut. RHODES has got the voice and the artistry, and there is no doubt he will gain lots of new fans from this.
Article by Flipse Flebo.