The 405 (22/10/13)
Childhood curiosity, openness and immunity to fear is a perfect mix for trying new things: from learning to ride a bike, to picking up a new language. All this becomes more challenging as you grow up and many would discard trying to master a new skill. But not 24-year-old David Rhodes. In January this year, he picked up a guitar, discovered he had a voice and set about to write some music. And the results are quite startling.
It's rare that a song can move you as quickly as 'Run' does. Guitars trickle like waterfalls over Rhodes' devastatingly beautiful vocals, whilst a gospel chorus lifts the track to a higher state. It would certainly suit a indie film soundtrack with its steadied and commanding crescendos.
'Worry' feels like an old friend with its instantly catchy chorus. Rhodes knows a way into a girl's heart with guttural, soulful vocals, nicely tied up at the end with aquatic guitars harking to Parachutes-era Coldplay.
The weakest song on the EP (though by no means "weak") is 'Darker Side'. It never quite takes off, but has the same earworm-of-a-chorus as 'Worry.' The thread attaching all of the songs is undoubtedly raw simplicity via Rhodes' pairing of ringing guitar and vocals (of the Jeff Buckley ilk) and, though this can be samey at times, it's powerful in its consistency.
Closer 'Raise Your Love' allows Rhodes' songwriting to really crawl into your head. The deep-seated projection of his voice in the verses is astounding as gentle percussion kisses a clanging electric guitar. Harmonies soar and echoes resound, leaving the record perched firmly on a high.
Raise Your Love is an arresting introduction to this impossibly-talented songwriter. It's the type of record that stops you in your tracks and swallows you whole, and it's frightening to think what heights can be reached next.