New Rhodes

Abigail Outwhaite 19/10/2006

New Rhodes are nice guys. A world away from the stage-trashing, Libertines-set bands chasing “rock 'n roll” dubbing, you get the impression that they probably saved their pocket money every week for a year to buy their first instrument.
Hailing from Sunderland, their sound is clearly reminiscent of the bands they grew up with, all Maximo Park-esque rhythms and Futureheads-inspired harmonies.

Tonight they're headlining a charity event at the University of London's Student Union (ULU), again in keeping with their nice guy image. The stage seems a bit too big for the four piece as they shuffle about, weaving around the vintage floor lamps adorning either side, lovingly tuning instruments and peering curiously into the crowd.

New drummer, Tim Desmond, is far too removed from the rest of the band, who share intimate cues into what seems like choreographed clockwork dancing. The music, however, is far too reliant on the percussion for his presence to go entirely unnoticed.

The guitar is sweet and complicated, and easily linked to Johnny Marr's work with The Smiths while vocally, the As are harsh and the Us over pronounced, it only adds to the magnetically endearing quality that shapes New Rhodes' image.

With lashes of Brit pop and melodic new wave, their sound isn't particularly distinctive from that of the crop of bands currently sweeping the charts. However, the complicated rhythms and conceptual guitarwork hints to hidden depths, and a venture into more experimental, distortion dominated tracks wouldn't hurt.

This is suggested by their encore, albeit unoriginal - the bass-laden intro harks back to The Smiths' 'How Soon Is Now?' In spite of this, their rhythmic pop and heart-warming quips (“we really like you guys, but this song is about other people - bad people...”) leave toes-tapping and smiles abound.

New Rhodes are nice guys, but if it's success they're after, a bit of grit and spite wouldn't go amiss.