There are times when you just need some good time party music, getting ready on a Friday night, the Saturday night gathering, the next day’s hovering. Hitchin’s David Rhodes is not the man for that job. He deals in atmospheres, sweeping moods and emotive soundscaping. Many have him pegged as a new Jeff Buckley, which may serve as a musical signpost to a lesser degree but suggests an anthemic quality and otherworldliness that isn’t quite there. For this is music of mere mortals, albeit a very talented one. For whilst a Buckley comes along once in a generation, Rhodes feels less revolutionary that that, aiming for commercial success rather than cult status.
But having seemingly pulled the flying carpet from under his feet somewhat I will go on to say that this is quite a good album. It will find a home easily with the record buying public (downloading public?) especially the girls who will melt for his clean cut, heartthrob good looks and dreamily warm vocal deliveries, sadly these days in that order.
Musically the music seems to be built on the spaces in between, the anticipation between the delivered vocal lines, the distant washes of reverb and echo, which act as an ever-shifting backdrop behind him. There are some quite brilliant moments, especially when he gathers up the momentum and aims for the dramatic stance.
A good album rather than a great one, the sound of units shifting rather than oceans colliding, of teen hearts throbbing rather that adult hearts breaking, of career paths being planned on a record label spread sheet rather than the landscape being shaken to the core. Graceful but far from Grace, (pun intended.) Buckley junior can sleep easy for now.