Thursday, 1 November 2012

Isle Of Rhodes - All Rivers And Oceans

Album review by KevW


Two or three plays into this album by Brooklyn duo Isle Of Rhodes and preparation was underway for the review of a fairly routine indie-rock band who'd made a decent enough album with the odd highlight. So time to do a bit of research, find some info about them, a bit of biography and all that jazz, and there, on the press release, it states that this album was recorded using nothing but a Rhodes electric piano (hence the band name) and percussion. This came as something of a shock, as listening to 'All Rivers And Oceans' it doesn't even cross your mind that such, what you'd assume to be, limitations had been set. Only listening to it after realising this fact do you spot the absence of guitars and the skill involved in making such a full sound in this way.

This is definitely something that makes Isle Of Rhodes' work all the more impressive, but when it boils down to it, all that counts is what the end product sounds like. So despite a pretty heroic effort in putting these songs together, it still only really dazzles in a few places. 'Islands' is a particularly good example where they deviate from their regular sound and create something a bit more interesting. It's more anthemic and much more engaging than a large part of the album. 'Eyes Like The Sun' is another cracker, again it has grander ambitions that result in something more reflective with a spoken word ending that at first seems out of place, almost hallucinatory, but it actually works wonders once your brain catches on.

Occasionally 'All The Rivers And Oceans' seems to be dragging its feet. Four tracks drift past the five-minute mark when really only the closer needs to. The middle of the album is a touch too samey, and it's notable that the highlights are when they step away from their standard setting. That said, you can't really complain about any particular songs individually, it's as a collection that this album shoots itself in the foot. Impressive as songs like 'Young Love' are, there's a little more gold dust needed to give the record an extra boost, a bit more variety and experimentation maybe. You have to doff your cap for the way this album was made and it should be pointed out that the songs are good. Some people may find the full duration a bit heavy going though.




Isle Of Rhodes' website

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