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NEW RHODES – Songs From The Lodge (CD, Salty Cat Records)

Posted: November 28th, 2006, by Simon Minter

I breathed a slight breath of disappointment to myself upon hearing the all-too-familiar uptight-cymbal-and-bass introduction to the first track on Songs From The Lodge. Here comes another in the seemingly endless production line of Hot New Bands with their stylistic feet plonked squarely in the new wave cliches of the ’80s, I muttered to myself, like the grouchy killjoy that I doubtlessly am.

Well, maybe I need to stop judging albums on their first opening seconds quite so much, as whilst New Rhodes owe something of a debt to the mini-epics of Echo and The Bunnymen and their ilk, they certainly give it enough of their own personality and lightness to stand them in fine stead. Their twinkling guitar melodies and tightly-controlled, complex-of-bassline songs certainly remind of such fine bands as McCarthy or even The Smiths, but the twelve songs here ooze charm, excitement and a cynicism-free sense of joy that’s lost in the music of many of their recent contemporaries.

I think that there are two reasons that New Rhodes can’t help but connect. Firstly, the vocals are delivered with such a fine sense of diction and poise, as they athletically wander across an impressive range, each line ending with a vibrato wiggle, often backed up with Ronettes-gone-city-centre backing harmonies. Secondly, the songs are so damned perky, with high-speed, bright guitar thrum tying itself up with nifty melodies into clean structures that don’t stay beyond their welcome.

I realise all of a sudden that New Rhodes take me back to the heady independent pop days of yore, simultaneously sounding naive and confident and betraying a love of performance and purity that hasn’t yet been marketed or produced out of existence. I was all set to dissect this album with reason and cynicism, but as the album went by I found it impossible to find it in myself to do so.

New Rhodes
Salty Cat Records

Simon Minter

Simon joined diskant after falling on his head from a great height. A diskant legend in his own lifetime Simon has risen up the ranks through a mixture of foolhardiness and wit. When not breaking musical barriers with top pop combo Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element or releasing records in preposterously exciting packaging he relaxes by looking like Steve Albini.


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