18 September 2015, Rhodes Music
Fans have been asked to wait very patiently for a very long time for Rhodes debut album but oh my, he hasn’t disappointed. Wishes is a soulful record just as intense and stunning as we have come to expect and love from the talented singer-songwriter.
The opening track Intro (an unoriginal name for a song that is anything but) sets the tone for the album; the lyrics, asking ‘how am I going to make you happy’ point towards a highly sensitive album. The honest vulnerability that comes across in both his lyrics and vocals is what makes him so endearing, and this introduction to Wishes feels like gaining permission to some of his innermost thoughts.
There is no denying that Rhodes has carefully deliberated which secrets he is willing to reveal to us, and the careful crafting of the album has paid off. Early tracks sit comfortably next to new ones – the transition of Intro into Close Your Eyes is smooth, and shows how his sound has advanced while still being recognisably Rhodes. It is pleasing to see that old gems such as Close your Eyes, Breathe and Your Soul have made the cut. These are songs that have made Rhodes journey as special as it has been, for example when he showcased them at Burberry Men’s Spring/Summer 2016 runway show -this prestigious gig has previously been held by the likes of Tom Odell.
“GUARANTEED TO LEAVE YOU FEELING MORE THAN JUST A LITTLE EMOTIONAL”
His blossoming star status can also be seen with his gorgeous duet with Birdy, Let It All Go, which is receiving plenty of well-deserved air-play, including a fabulous Live Lounge on BBC Radio 1 that I highly recommend checking out. Their voices complement each other perfectly with Birdy’s stronger tones add a beautiful texture to Rhode’s softer range, working in harmony to create a heart achingly gorgeous ballad that for me is the standout track of the album, guaranteed to leave you feeling more than just a little emotional if you let it.
Of the new tracks for the album, Somebody shines. It takes off in a way that a couple of the others, such as You and I, don’t quite manage. Depth is added by a simple but effective piano melody and swirling strings that elegantly lift and carry the track to glorious heights. Furthermore, it has lovely lyrics which is one noteworthy feature of the album as a whole with each song sharing a beautiful and heart-breaking tale.
By the time the final track and album namesake Wishes fades to a close there is a small sense of loss –a warm contentedness has settled, and you never want it to end. This is a striking debut album made for peaceful moments and reflective times, representing the human condition at its most exposed, not afraid to reveal some of the darkness that exists in all of us.