Album Review: RHODES – ‘Wishes’

English singer/songwriter David Rhodes, who goes simply by RHODES (as it is stylised), has had an impressive two years. After releasing his first EP in October 2013, he went on to tour with the likes of Sam Smith, Vance Joy, Ben Howard and London Grammar. In between those tours, RHODES kept busy by releasing stunning EPs that had both music fans and critics raving about this enormous talent. Now RHODES has released his highly anticipated debut album ‘Wishes’, which is out now through Sony Music Australia.

Wishes‘ begins with a suitably named track, entitled ‘Intro’ and what a perfect way to open up the record with its atmospheric soundscapes and his trademark hauntingly stunning falsetto – it’s RHODES’ sound in a nutshell.

Rhodes WishesThroughout the record it’s clear that RHODES likes to encompass his lyrics in the lush sounds of swirling guitar chords or piano driven ballads like on the stunning ‘Morning‘. The added euphoric harmonies on the track give it a celestial quality, which completely transports you to a place that resembles what we can only describe as music heaven. It is important to note that ‘Morning‘ and many other tracks off the album have been released previously on older EPs. But what RHODES’ has done, that many artists don’t, is that he reworked some of the previously released tracks. Most notably on ‘Raise Your Love’ with added percussion and expansive production. However, while I appreciate that effort that has gone into rearranging them, ‘Raise Your Love’ loses the spark and rawness that the original recording had. Perhaps this is the price to pay for the flow of the album, as the rearrangement has been significant in helping the flow.

Worry‘, which played on Grey’s Anatomy (not once but twice consecutively), is stunning enough for you to want to keep on repeat continuously. It shows the maturity and depth of the album and RHODES’ ability to capture raw emotion through lyrics ‘Feels like day, sudden morning. Off my reign, fear the pain’. RHODES’ music continues to embody the emotion of each track, ‘Losing It’ which is about feeling of ‘cabin fever’ while working on the album has a feeling of distance yet yearning, with the shortest running time of the album at just under 2 minutes and 30 seconds, we wished ‘Losing It’ would last for hours, because we could just sit there and bask in the blissfulness of his soothing vocal ability.

It’s clear that a lot of heart and soul went into making this record. At times, RHODES’ is able to capture a beauty by just letting the instrumentation speak for itself. ‘Better’ is one of those tracks, and a total highlight of the album.

Like many, RHODES’ released a standard and deluxe version of the album, and if you were undecided whether to go for the deluxe or standard copy of the album – go for the deluxe solely to listen to ‘Love Live On’ over and over again. All it will take is one listen to be completely head over heels in love with this track. Imagine all your favourite things about RHODES’ music all on one track, the lyrics, instrumental, vocals – it’s perfect!!! Also included in the deluxe edition is a enchanting rendition of Taylor Swift’s single ‘Blank Space’, that you’ll never guess was a T.Swift songs as it got the full RHODES’ treatment and got a tick of approval from Swift herself.

Overall, the dynamic, lush soundscapes created by RHODES’ combined with his haunting vocals and honest heartfelt lyrics make ‘Wishes’ something to obsess over. For a debut album, RHODES’ has seriously impressed us.

If you loved ‘Wishes‘ as much as we did, you can see Rhodes on tour in Australia supporting Hozier this October, dates below.

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Hozier’s Australian Tour – support act Rhodes

Perth – 28/10 Belvoir Amphitheatre

Melbourne – 30/10 Palais Theatre

Melbourne – 31/10 Palais Theatre

Sydney – 3/11 Hordern Pavilion

Brisbane – 6/11 Riverstage