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Lou Rhodes - One Good Thing

Lou Rhodes, One Good Thing

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

AS achingly beautiful as the vocals of Lou Rhodes are, even the most diehard fan of the singer may struggle at times with her new album, One Good Thing.

Contrary to the optimism suggested in its name, this is a frequently melancholy listen that promises more than it ultimately delivers.

A painfully raw and honest record, it follows the same format as 2007’s Bloom by offering fans a piercing insight into Rhodes’ world during that time – a world and life that has been informed by a break-up and the death of her sister.

That it marks a reunion of sorts is also underplayed. For Rhodes is once again working with Andy Barlow for the first time since Lamb drifted apart way back in 2004. This is far from a get together that embraces any of Lamb’s electronic traits, however.

The emphasis is firmly – and arguably justifiably – placed on Rhodes vocals, with the usual string and acoustic arrangements providing the backdrop (and the production duties for Barlow).

But the album lacks pace. Songs are moody, meaningful and often extremely melancholy.

Ironic, then, that album opener One Good Thing does at least unfold on a note of optimism, for as Rhodes herself states: “Sometimes there’s one little thing that lifts you up for a moment and plugs you into what’s good in the world. There’s so much in this life we can’t control. All we can do is find the joy in the little things that happen to us along the way.”

The resulting song is heartbreakingly beautiful and a real highlight… a stripped down but lovingly composed offering that invites you to embrace the ethos behind it – to grab your own pockets of joy when they arrive.

There For The Taking, meanwhile, repeats the formula and engages once again… but therafter the formula rarely changes and the optimisim is fleeting. A song like Melancholy Me almost finds Rhodes at ease with her mental state and fully justifying the many comparisons that have been made to Nick Drake.

Hence, come the final offering Why Wait For Heaven, you may well be seeking something much more upbeat to tap into the ‘one good thing’ Rhodes invites us to find along the way.

Sincere but ultimately disapppointing.

Download picks: One Good Thing, There For The Taking, The Ocean, It All

Track listing:

  1. One Good Thing
  2. There for the Taking
  3. The More I Run
  4. It All
  5. Janey
  6. Circles
  7. Magic Day
  8. The Ocean
  9. Melancholy Me
  10. Baby
  11. Why Wait for Heaven