The 2014 UK Blog Sound picked long time DEE favourite Hitchin singer songwriter Rhodes out as a top pick for this year and next month he releases his Morning EP to follow the success of 2013's four track Raise Your Love.
Morning opener Your Soul introduces some of the production nous behind London Grammar and Daughter to Rhodes' already haunting presence and the result is pretty, sorry but I am going to go there, epic. Like the sound of a triumphant conqueror, standing at the top of the grand canyon having scaled its enormous cavernous walls as if they were the soft and sugary sides of a victoria sponge cake; Morning is a wide panned, cinematic view of Rhodes' journey to BBC1 Radio 1 plays, UK Blog Sound nominations and no doubt a summer full of the worlds best festivals.
Things peak for me with Bloom, a sparkling and ethereal tapestry which haunts and consoles in equal measure and before you know it there are breathy vocals reverberating all around you, drowning you in its beauty.
We went to Manchester to check out the new tracks on the Manchester leg of Rhodes' first ever headline tour and Oldham Street's Castle Hotel provided an intimate and impressive setting for all of these ambient gems to wash around. Stood beneath the peculiar timbre alter/sky light/spire above the cosy back room's stage recalling his recent Deaf Institute gig supporting Nick Mulvey, Rhodes seemed genuinely humbled that people all over the country were coming out to see his shows now and his enthusiasm was matched by the reaction from the well dressed early-twenties crowd who made up most of the audience.
Live, Your Soul sits perfectly alongside Run and Worry et al in highlighting Rhodes' biggest strength; the ability to make stripped back acoustic music which has intimate presence and huge scale sweeping purpose. He manages to stand out from the mass of boring Troubadour-by-Topman types, who go about their work armed with a battered acoustic, some scribbled pretentious lyrics and an instantly hatable wankerish sense of self importance. Maybe it's because he plays an electric that helps Rhodes get away from the busker-turned-artist tag and gives his music more purpose, I don't know. But Morning EP is more proof that the early excitement around one of the UK's most popular up and coming singer songwriters is more than justified.
Morning is released on 12th May through Rhodes Music (pre order below)...
...and his headline tour is still on the road:
28th Mar - Sheffield, The Harley
29th Mar - Glasgow, The Roxy
30th Mar - Manchester, Castle
1st Apr - Liverpool, Leaf
2nd Apr - Nottingham, Red Room
4th Apr - Bristol, Birdcage
5th Apr - Brighton, The Hope
6th Apr - Oxford, The Cellar
8th Apr - London, Sebright Arms *SOLD OUT*
9th Apr - London, Sebright Arms (additional date) *SOLD OUT*
10th Apr - London, Sebright Arms (additional date)
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