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Happy Birthday EP by Rhode Island

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Reviewed on 12th October 2005.


Happy Birthday EP

By Rhode Island

The first thing I noticed when this CD started playing was that ... it was amazing! I'm not just saying that to avoid being harsh to the band (which I have noticed happens too much), this EP is truly incredible. I know you probably hear this a lot, but it actually sounds extremely original. The EP gives off a Beatles-type feel, with acoustic guitar work similar to Nikoli, but it seems to flow together just that little bit better.

Rhode Island have put together a truly fantastic EP, the tracks are well produced (as is the very nice packaging) and it's very obvious they have spent a lot of time making these songs sound exactly how they want them to. I love the way the drums are a major part of this CD and that there is no set beat on any one of their tracks. The drums actually follow the song in every way possible which is a rarity nowadays, they're not just chorus drums-verse drums-chorus drums etc.

The EP itself is very relaxed as the comment at the tail of "Happy Birthday" describes: "I honestly think you want to sit down calmly and take a stress pill and think things over". Also Rhode Island haven't overdone it with the bass. They deliver a colossal guitar melody and just simply give it that extra edge with some very gentle syncopated bass, and it works - so why not?

Track Analysis:

"Big Two-Hearted River" is probably the most upbeat of the 4 tracks on this EP. With its immediate anthem-like melody and catchy chorus this is a perfect start to the album. Peaking with the very nice improvised acoustic solo toward the end.

"With Love & Squalor" I would say is the most emotional track on the album. Beginning with a Radiohead-like tune and quickly morphing into a more aggressive yet controlled strumming pattern (i.e. not going and trying to strum as fast a possible to show emotion). With added antiques here and there and very dynamic drumbeats this track definitely says "this is my heart pouring".

As "Happy Birthday" commences it is quite clear now that Rhode Island have tried to create something different on each track (and succeeded might I add). You can really tell this by the time you get to this track which has to be, by far, my favourite song on the EP. It begins almost like a cross between one of Bob Marley's later releases and Hawaiian music, but steadily generates into a Beatles-like melody. Best song in my opinion.

Finally onto "Ladybird", without a doubt this is the most relaxed track on the album. The articulated melody combined with fast, chirpy lyrics actually makes you think of a ladybird flying over summer fields (and a happy one at that so it's all good). I think that it could be a bit longer as it was extremely enjoyable and I didn't really want it to stop. I guess it's harder to get bored of then (not that that will happen at all with this EP).

All in all this has to be the best EP that I have been sent so far and it is going to take an awful lot to top it, as it's not far off perfect. Rhode Island have a unique style and wide array of musical talents that will get them far.

If this music was a person it would be: the nicest person you have ever met. Who gives so much to others yet takes so little. Who is never mean and always happy.



All replies to this article. Log in to post a reply.

On 13th October 2005 at 10:10 Anonymous 30 wrote...

Got to say that after such a build up I was very dissappointed by the track samples on their website. 5 stars seems extremely generous Ben?


On 13th October 2005 at 12:25 Anonymous 4717 wrote...

I don't know i really really enjoyed it. i think it may of been a little generous but they have clearly shown real enthusiasm in this album and i think it shows. maybe 5 stars was a bit much but i made my stance and i must stand by it.


On 13th October 2005 at 12:28 Anonymous 4717 wrote...

sorry for how badly i just put that. God dammit


On 13th October 2005 at 13:51 Anonymous 2406 wrote...

Wow, 5 stars is pretty generous but very glad you like it, Ben, and thank you for the glowing review.

Instantrick, please bear in mind that short mp3 samples are really horrible unrepresentative at the best of times. Perhaps I'll replace them with streaming quicktime/realplayer files. But if the songs aren't to your taste, fair enough!


On 13th October 2005 at 23:56 Anonymous 4822 wrote...

im in the band, so im trying to be as objective as possible. apologies for it inevitably failing at that.

but anway, i was shocked by the review, as i thought it would be dismissed, as in the case of instantrick (which is obviously fair enough). i thought it would be brushed aside as i realise that it doesn't instantly have a niche, or recognisable angle to fit into. no real influences. and listening to short samples would perhaps make this so. but im delighted with the review purely as i thought, this is someone who has really listened to it, and got into it on autonomous terms. this is the only reason we are doing this kind of thing anyway.

but there's one important thing ive realised by getting back into lms, and its this: this kind of debate, and dialogue (however small) is great. this website is a credit to a town i grew up in which had nothing like this for so long. good work everyone.



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3-piece powerpop

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