Baldock singer/songwriter David Rhodes stands poised to release one of the year’s most anticipated debut albums. In a year where neo-folk musicians including Rae Morris and Laura Marling have impressed, Rhodes arrives with a sound of grandeur where emotion is multiplied and thrust to the surface of gushing musical soundscapes. Beginning on original ground with pounding and pulsating ‘Close Your Eyes’ David demonstrates balladic vocal abilities that could soon grab the attention of the most cynical and uninterested bystander. Regardless of his calm persona, the sheer honesty of his subject matter is uncontrollable at parts during ‘Raise Your Love’ as his vocal breaks apart in the style of White Lies or Patrick Wolf over a tumbling and cinematic percussive structure.
‘Wishes’ follows form of its British critic contemporaries London Grammar as lyrically it delves deep and leaves no breakup or dispute left without dissection whilst its production values and overall sound is one of majesty, atmosphere and an overall beauty. ‘You & I’ has an omnipresent haunting string throughout its near five minute running length as Rhodes pleads in the dark with a lost love in graduating intensity as the vocal and orchestral sounds intertwine in a foreboding dialogue. ‘Breathe’ and ‘Turning Back Around’ taken from early EPs both make the final cut with the latter showing a momentum and pace similar to ‘Human’ by Daughter which successfully divides their debut into two succinct halves as does this quiet and hymnal gem.
‘Somebody’ matches Wild Beasts’ style vocals with theatrical sonar in a chamber pop mentality spearheaded by the likes of Lykke Li and Emile Haynie and the comparisons to the red haired vixen Florence Welch will be plentiful when dissecting this LP as it is pretty difficult not to imagine these tracks featuring on the likes of ‘Ceremonials’. Rhodes attains a creative voice through his vocal and deeply personable accounts. His collaboration with Jasmine Bogaerde otherwise known as Birdy proves David’s growing reputation within the industry and his ability to write truly powerful balladic material that does not stray into territory of banal and condescending. There are a few missteps including the title track which is a rather monotonous finale as the synth and echo is turned up to 11 as overcompensation of size due to a relatively hollow narrative.
Proving the critics’ hand can only be so powerful, Rhodes has crafted a debut album with more emotive weight and sentiment than his lacklustre predecessors including James Bay and Tom Odell. This album is more likely to impact the listener and the fact he is lesser known will only intensify reaction to the likes of ‘You & I’ and ‘Somebody’. He demonstrates a true soul and ability countless times on this record and although it has large production values, strip those away and you would be left with an ingenious wordsmith and captivating guitarist.
Rhodes releases ‘Wishes’ on 18 September 2015 in the UK via Rhodes Music/Ministry of Sound