Big in Japan but seemingly unloved in their native Britain, indie also-rans New Rhodes return to regale us with another slice of tuneful guitar pop. Whisper it quietly, but they may just be on to something with their second album.
Despite winning the 2006 Vodafone Award for Best Unsigned Band and receiving good reviews for their debut Songs From The Lodge, the London-based quartet has struggled to make much of an impact beyond a loyal cult following.
Everybody Loves A Scene roars out of the traps with the opening title track. Ticking all the usual indie pop boxes (thumping rhythm section, chugging guitars, yelping white boy vocals), the song builds and builds to its infectious chorus and statement of intent: ‘I know what’s at stake/But I’ve seen everything/And it’s all I’ve ever needed’.
Come Into The Room is a virtual reprise of the opening track but its mid-tempo rhythm lacks the same impact. The Joys Of Finding And Losing That Girl, the first single off the album, finds the quartet back in balls out, melodic indie pop mode. Catchy enough and it may just attract a few Killers fans into the bargain.
Let’s Talk initially sounds like a Vampire Weekend track before rather losing the plot somewhat, with James Williams’ vocals straying too far into The Kooks ‘faux-Cockney’ territory for my liking. So Alone is tarred with the same brush unfortunately, and the quartet’s penchant for hurrying into a ‘big’ chorus can get a bit wearing after a while.
The Bells Of St. John slows the pace down dramatically. Now, this is usually a sign to go and make a cup of tea on the average UK indie album, but the track is curiously affecting and the sedate melody sits well with Williams’ voice.
I’ll Wait For You By The Coast is another cracker. A gentle, atmospheric opening builds into a terrific wall of sound driven by Tim Desmond’s galloping drums. Hell, even the lyrics are passable on an album that for the most part sticks to the stale boy meets girl/boy breaks up with girl/boy pines for girl indie blueprint.
A&E is not the Goldfrapp track of the same name and falls far short of the London minx’s folksy pop. In fact, the album rather peters out from this point onwards. Is This The Life You Want?, 254 and You Can Have It All don’t really offer anything new. Tuneful yes, but nothing we haven’t heard countless time before from other whey-faced indie bands.
Will this album finally crack New Rhodes in the UK? All it will take is a couple of the better tracks to worm their way onto daytime radio and Williams and co. may just find themselves up there with the Kooks. Only time will tell.