Review : Lou Rhodes - One Good Thing
MusicomhFor a brief period in the late '90s you couldn't move for the sound of Lou Rhodes' voice. Lamb's track Gorecki was a chill-out anthem for the dance kids of the day, and hugely popular with ad agencies. Despite some adventurous forays into inventive electro realms, Rhodes and her bandmate Andy Barlow would forever be associated with that one song.
When Lamb disbanded, Rhodes ditched the electronica and has since released two albums of well-received pastoral folk, the first of which was shortlisted for the 2006 Mercury Music Prize. One Good Thing is more of the same, incredibly intimate, introspective and emotional.
"Every day the news is telling of crisis and war, all I know is what they're selling I ain't buying no more," sings Rhodes in a steely falsetto at the album's opening, and the sentiment that the world is quite rubbish pervades from there on. Even though this line is suffixed with the idea that all it takes is one good thing to set it right, this optimism seems a little forced....full text
GuardianLou Rhodes's third solo album is also her first collaboration with Andy Barlow, her former partner in electronica duo Lamb, since they drifted apart in 2004. But anyone expecting a deviation from Rhodes's Nick Drake-influenced singer-songwriter path should forget it. As co-producer, Barlow's touch is felt not in electronic trickery but acoustic effects: the resonantly clanging guitar chords in It All; the shattering climax to Circles. For the rest, Rhodes essentially picks up where her 2007 album, Bloom, left off, using guitar and strings elegantly but sparingly, to underscore excerpts from her diary of the past three years. That period includes a major break-up and the death of her sister, and Rhodes's emotions oscillate between maudlin despair (Melancholy Me) and the kind of look-on-the-bright-side optimism found in self-help books. Unfortunately, the pep talks in There for the Taking and the title track have just that anodyne quality, in music and lyrics alike. Janey, dedicated to her sister, is more personal and direct – and far more compelling....full text
BbcLast year's Lamb reunion at The Big Chill festival created an atmosphere of potent nostalgia, and a feeling that this Manchester electro-duo provides the optimum setting for the high-arcing voice of Lou Rhodes. Without wanting to appear resistant to change, there is a sense that Rhodes as a solo singer-songwriter is exposing only a single facet of the being that her old audience knows so well.
Previously, Rhodes has harnessed energy by touring with a small band, but this album finds her mostly alone, with the notable exception of massed strings brushing and swelling underneath on several songs. Lamb partner Andy Barlow acted as her recording engineer, with Rhodes in the producer's chair. The album is also the first release on Motion Audio, a new label operated by The Cinematic Orchestra....full text
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