A few years ago whilst looking through the Glastonbury line-up, trying to decide which acts to see and which I’d have to miss, I stumbled across a little known singer-songwriter called Ed Sheeran. He was playing numerous times over the weekend on various tiny stages. I remembered the name because his song ‘The A Team’ was starting to get a bit of radio-play. I decided against, and instead decided on a better known act. Why do I mention this? Well at this year’s festival I did the same. I contemplated seeing new boy RHODES, but he was on early, and he was all the way over at The Park stage, so once again I made that decision to go elsewhere; somewhere rarer, probably. I’m thinking now that may have a mistake of the same epic proportions. The music of RHODES seems perfect for a festival. It also seems perfect for the morning after the night before. It is chilled to perfection, and has that hands in the air, sway rom side to side with your lighter aglow.
‘Wishes’ is the debut album from the Hertfordshire based singer-songwriter David Rhodes, aka RHODES (I’ve not got caps lock stuck, that’s the way it’s stylised) released of Ministry Of Sound. Fans of queen-of-calm Birdy may already be familiar with the name. Their collaborative single ‘Let It All Go’ has been breaking hearts all over the UK over the last few weeks. The single is included towards the end of the album, and fits in perfectly. It’s easy to see why the two singers got together. The two voices blend together perfectly. RHODES has that same calm and raw emotion in his vocals of his duetting partner. There are plenty more tracks you may know if you’ve followed his career from the start. Songs such as ‘Turning Back Around’ and ‘Morning’ (on the deluxe version sound great in amongst the new material. Every song on the album is equally as laid back as the recent single. He sings the kind of emotion filled festival-friendly big ballads that launched the careers of the likes of Coldplay and Elbow. The twelve tracks (eighteen if you get the deluxe version) maintains that same sense of calm throughout.
Things kick off gently with the appropriately titled ‘Intro’. If you’re not hooked from the offset (like I was) then recent single ‘Close Your Eyes’ should do it. It is a bold and dramatic piano-lead track with an instantly classic sound. ‘You & I’ is a slow burner that builds and builds. If you do decide to go deluxe, then you’ll be treated to a whole load of bonus material, including his cover of Taylor Swift’s recent huge pop hit ‘Blank Space’. Even if you don’t admit it, you know how much you love the original (don’t we all). This version has taken the full RHODES treatment, and becomes completely his own. Quite a challenge to such a unique, well-loved song.
‘Wishes’ is an impressive debut from a major new talent. I regret not seeing him live when I had the chance. I’ve no doubt that I will have plenty more opportunities in the future, but probably on a much bigger scale.