Released: July 2013
Written by: Music: E Grassby, Walker, Pringle, Lloyd, Talbot, Wolstenholme, Tomlinson; Lyrics: E Grassby, Lloyd, Pringle
Rhombus, the English favourites or the alternative underground, are proud to release their third studio album Here Be Dragons. The album was funded using the PledgeMusic crowdsourcing website and reached a staggering 167% of its goal, reflecting the years of support by fans from all around the world.
Jokingly titled “Forever Delayed” by fans of the band, the follow up to 2010’s well received “Open The Sky” was due to be released in late 2012. However Rhombus prefer to meet expectations rather than deadlines and ensure that every release exceeds the high standard of the previous release and goes one better.
Over the last eight months Rob, Ian, Mya and Edward have been giving everything they have to ensure this release meets the highest possible standard and repays the support of their fans and supporters with interest.
Joined by Ed Wolstenholme on fiddle and in a first for Rhombus, Lee Talbot on drums, the band have crafted their most complex an complete collection of songs. Drawing on all their strengths and diverse influences, Here Be Dragons delivers their most accessible album to date.
Written and developed over the last two years, this collection of songs details and documents the lives of both the band and members across what proved an intense and eventful period. Here Be Dragons is a voyage through dreams and desires, fears and failings, wilfulness and weakness, courage and compassion, adversity and triumph as Rhombus explore the concept of time.
Rhombus never take the easy path, the amount of time and efforts spent on these songs is plain to see. Lead guitarist Rob says “We probably spent more time on the artwork this time than we did on the whole of Remembrance Day”.
Once completed, Rhombus handed their work over to Gordon Young (Dream Disciples/Pretentious, Moi?). Under the watchful eye of Ian FTG, Gordon had the challenging task of distilling each song to a recipe pure enough to bring out the individual flavours of each contributor and then bottle a final mix at 120 proof.
Beyond their ‘core of four’ Rhombus have always welcomed contributions from a group of semi-regular guest artists and friends. As you would expect ‘Red Fraggle’ Claire Tomlinson together with her fellow Rhombette Victoria Briggs have made significant contributions to ‘Here Be Dragons’ with Claire earning her first song writing credit.
Rhombus were also delighted to welcome contributions for Andrew Birch (The Last Cry), Alixandrea Corvyn (Last July), Chris Tuke (Berlin Black), Martin Aylward (Liquid Head) and Phil ‘Spooks’ Green (Dead Eyes Opened). Each artist was given free rein to submit their own vocal performances to various songs. Nowhere is this more evident than on the future classic “What You Wanted” which sees all of them combining behind Edward, Mya and Ian to deliver a vocal punch that will be ringing in your ears for some time to come.
One simple point to be made about Rhombus is they don’t do miserable, do they? They don’t hang about either, despite having plumped up textures galore. A song starts and they’re all eager to bustle in and get cracking, making their songs tremendously enjoyable.
‘T’intro’ is the arty start, mind, with desolate piano, distant voices, a spot of rain. Momentarily it’s grim up North, then the skies clear as they breeze into ‘Fallout’, filling the air with dramatic female vocals over busy drums, a melodic chorus arching out into space, assisted by succulent keyboard and guitar action. Darkly frisky, ‘Staying Under’ has a subtle fizz, lower with male vocals dominating, but equally forthright in catchy tones. ‘Here Be Dragons’ starts like turbo-folk, but flattens straight out then pushes forwards hungrily, with mental vocals: “what’s yours is mine, what’s theirs is mine, what’s ours is mine, what’s mine is mine.” That seems clear enough.
‘Turn Around’ has another great guitar display, edgily atmospheric but deeply picturesque with the power behind it and a stirring vocal parachuting in with a less grand, more urgent chorus sandwiched in. ‘What You Wanted’ is hearty moodiness, with a soft heart. ‘The One Thing’ is cutely roving Goth, lightweight but active, followed by the jauntily fresh assault of ‘Lifeline’ which is great fun from the morse code style opening through the trenchant bounce, vocal frills and muted closing thrills.
‘Tomorrow’s Yesterday’ is a touch more rigid and upright, solemn yet determined. ‘Timeless & Elegant’ is another gregarious explosion of vocal control, interplay and relentlessly invigorating rhythmical propulsion with the guitar riding shotgun with debonair aplomb. ‘Made to Last’ then bowls out of the door with a heady melodic Gawf flounce, sung joyously amid a whirl of uplifting action.
Fittingly, given the title, they’re on fire.