Rhodes at Disaronno Terrace
Soulful newcomer David Rhodes has been playing under his current moniker Rhodes for just a year and has been turning heads since day one with his ethereal vocals and sombre yet uplifting ballads. Surprisingly, he says he didn’t actually sing until 18 months ago when he made his tentative first steps into the world of songwriting; on Wednesday we witnessed him in full flight as he delivered a captivating performance at Disaronno Terrace.
The recordings on his debut EP Morning feature a full band, but on Wednesday he still sounded enormous armed with just an electric guitar and his voice. His vocal performance was hair-raising and filled with nuances, floating effortlessly between a delicate, wavering delivery and a raw, forceful belt: he punched his choruses home with such intensity, it was as if he was standing at the edge of gaping chasm, yelling into the abyss.
His voice paired with his reverb-heavy guitar made for a haunting performance that brought to mind the solo projects of two relatively new artists Torres(Mackenzie Scott) and Grouper (Liz Harris) – both of whom create huge soundscapes with just their voices and guitars. As pointed out by several critics, Rhodes’ music also bears some striking similarities to Jeff Buckley – chiefly his guitar sound and the fluctuation of his voice between gentle intimacy and fist-clenching anthemic power.
His lyrics were quite open-ended and tended to focus on statements of feeling rather than descriptive imagery. He was economical with his words; typically his choruses centred on a simple, repeated phrase such as “I’m holding onto your soul”, “feels like a war”, or “why do we run”. Far from being a criticism, this actually points to one of his biggest strengths: he is able to strip songwriting down to its bare essentials and toss aside the excess. It is not his words but his emotionally wracked voice that conveys a complex and deeply personal narrative.
For further information and future events visit Rhodes’s website here.
Read our interview with Rhodes here.
Watch the video for Raise Your Love here: