Album Review: Rhodes – Wishes


Rhodes-WishesReleased September 18th 2015

Well it’s been a good while since I got to write an album review for my own blog and when this little beauty landed on my desk, in actual physical format, I knew it was a sign. Write something substantial god-damn it and do it for someone who you’ve loved and championed from the beginning. So here we stand, or sit, or lay….  Rhodes has finally got an album to share. I say finally, really it feels like it’s all come around so fast. I’ve lost a grip on how huge he is now. My mum tells me he’s on the radio (yeah I know… I should know, but truth is I’m stuck in my inbox and on a merry-go-round of new music so you, and he, will have to forgive me).

In a way, the fact that I’ve already been loving Rhodes so long gives me maybe somewhat of a biased opinion on his debut album Wishes. But fear not for I am nothing but honest. What’s the point in just yelling “it’s amazing?” and not looking for ways to improve? That being said it is very difficult to pick any holes in any of this. There are my least favourite tracks, such as the almost too repetitive (for my liking anyway) and somewhat unsubstantial You & I. But those comments feel stark against the positive, bordering on sycophantic, comments I’m about to make about the rest of this album.

Now that’s out of the way – let’s get to it. Wishes is an album for calm time, for reflective moods and at times for deeply melancholic moments. It’s an intense album and is packed with thoughtful and insightful tales. There’s an abundance of sentiment that simply resonates from every note. It feels effortless and at times so emotionally charged that it’s a bit like he’s somehow taken a peek into your soul (no pun intended) and told the world all your deepest darkest secrets. I won’t lie, some of it is so close to home that it’s a bit of an assault on the ol heart strings – which appear to be strung up tightly to the ol tear ducts, if you catch my drift. Breathe, for example, is not a track that is new to me, but in this new context, and perhaps other things more personal to me, it is a track that has had new reactions. It literally brought me out of the start of a panic attack – I’m not entirely sure that it’s supposed to be an order as such but breathe I did and better I did feel (again no pun intended with the song title there).

Timeless yet modern is how I’d describe the majority of Wishes. From opening track Intro the precedence is set; hauntingly beautiful vocals, a wall of guitar swirls that envelop you and capture your attention from the off. The movement into second track Close Your Eyes is one of the best transitions I’ve heard on an album in a while. The album begins to take on a sense of being, as opposed to simply a collection of songs that just happen to have been written by the same guy. Honestly if you’re not swept off your feet by the end of the second song then it’s just not going to happen for you. I wouldn’t put money on that like, but you know what I’m saying.

Let It All Go is a collaboration between Rhodes and singer-songwriter Birdy. In fact I can clearly recall a shot of them in studio he posted up on Instagram an age ago. I remember thinking then.. “oooh interesting idea!”. Interesting idea actually didn’t do it any justice at all to be fair. More like inspired idea. Her strong tone adds such a beautiful texture against Rhode’s higher range and together they have created a beautifully solemn love song which sits perfectly on Wishes, as I’m sure it would her album. It’s also another example of how this album is timeless and modern; the piano with such simplicity and depth, sat against a drum machine and those trademark Rhodes guitar swirls creating such atmosphere with their reverb echoes. The strings, again, add something more traditional as well as something beautiful and seriously dramatic to the whole affair.

By the time Wishes, the final track and the album’s namesake, comes to an end, there’s both a sense of want and a sense of loss. A want to listen again and a loss of a little bit of yourself, in a good way. If you give to this album as much as Rhodes has given to it then you’ll begin to feel strangely attached to it. I don’t mean that in a stalker kind of way. I can put this more eloquently than that;  you’ll have engaged on a deeper level with something and to fully allow yourself to do that is not always an easy task. There are moments of strength, beauty, darkness, light and love that ebb and flow throughout Wishes and to let it in, you need to really engage your heart and mind. It’s an intelligent album on many levels and if this is just a debut then I honestly can’t even think what more is yet to come. Did I mention that I think this album is amazing?

Listen to Breathe here:
Listen to Let It All Go here:


One Response to “Album Review: Rhodes – Wishes”
  1. Stu Basham says:

    Let It All Go is such a beautiful song with amazing vocals.

    Liked by 1 person

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