If a year is a long time in politics, then four years is an eternity in music. Long enough for some to form a band, conquer the world, develop a drink/drugs problem, go into rehab, clean up long enough to fall out with your former bandmates, set off on a poorly received solo tour, with plenty left over for the emotional reconciliation and reunion tour.
Yet all New Rhodes have achieved in their four years of existence, is the recording of one album. Slackers. So, is it worth the wait?
Well, considering what you normally have to wait 1461 days for – an Aston Martin, table at Claridges, or, if you’re really, really lucky, a new hip on the NHS – it probably isn’t. But judging it like that isn’t entirely fair, and shouldn’t disguise the fact that Songs From The Lodge is a rather smashing debut.
It always helps to start with a belter, and the if-only-it-had-some-brackets-in-the-title- it’d-be-good-enough- for-Meat Loaf You’ve Given Me Something That I Can’t Give Back is absolutely that. Beginning with the kind of distant chiming that used to mark the arrival of a mullet on Edge in the desert, it ends like The Futureheads telling Morrissey to stop being so ‘effin miserable and just start singing on this canny tune man, the indie disco is awaiting.
It’s probably reasonable to assume that during New Rhodes’ downtime The Smiths were never too far from the stereo. There’s that same sense of wry depression, a lyrical sighing at all the epic amounts of shite that keeps happening too them.
I’m Bored Of You being a fine case in point. Sounding Bloc Party urgent, and Graham Coxon bouncy, but then with a pessimist-is-never-disappointed chorus (“We all thought it could change / Well we all thought wrong”) it is precisely brilliant, in both influences and execution.
The role of romantic cynic is something which really suits. Particularly compared to the other broad section of their songwriting canon; that of the whimsical dreamer. Please Tell Me Something in particular sighs along like Badly Drawn Boy being stood up at the premier of the latest Hugh Grant film, tears in its eyes, sadness in its heart, vomit in our throats.
It’s fortunate that it isn’t their stock and trade. When they hit form, they manage to siphon off something golden: I Wish I Was You is a punking marvelous signature dish, yearning and spiteful, and catchy enough to warrant some kind of all ports warning.
You can tell there is quality at work here, even if it’s a quality which moves fairly slowly. Songs From The Lodge is a very fine first record, and one which makes you hope the next arrives before 2010.