Released: January 2010
Written by: Music: E Grassby, Walker, Pringle, Lloyd; Lyrics: E Grassby, Lloyd, Pringle, C Grassby
‘Open The Sky’ is Rhombus’s follow up to their well received album of 2007, Remembrance Day. Since that time Rhombus have become established as one of the best live acts on the alternative circuit.
Building on Remembrance Day this album takes the band to a new level. Now with a settled line up bringing an additional song writer to the group, this album was written and produced by all four members together last year. The production is the best Rhombus have delivered, thanks in no small part to Stephen Carey (The Eden House) coming on board to handle the mixing duties.
The songs are lively, rich and mature but without losing the ‘pop sensibilities’ Rhombus songs are well known for. Rhombus have always known how to do catchy.
The group contribution sees a myriad of different styles and themes explored throughout the album with plenty of light and shade. The mixture of male and female vocals with some softer and heavier guitar work brings poignancy, power and passion in equal measure to what is set to be one of the most exciting releases of 2010.
I don’t mean to insult Rhombus but I wasn’t expecting an album like this from them, not yet. They’ve been consistently moving away from their softer side of Goth Lite as records go by, acquiring tenacity and creating a vocal virus through brutally realistic lyrics, but this time round they’ve stopped having different sounds on a record. They could go from unsettled to perky before, which would pitch you from side to side. With an unified flow on this record the atmosphere and sensitivity gets ramped up a notch, and really impresses throughout.
In ‘Lighting Strikes Twice’ a guitar wanders in out of the storm and a protective bass glides around, female vocal searchlights light up the sky, as male vocals then drift solidly forward in a forlorn fashion. Classy Goth, this also has a tight little tune and a brief, prodding chorus and for an opener it’s an engaging ear-pummeller. Then they keep close to the floor and fly by with ‘4472’, sticking to the same melodic delivery, in fact it’s practically the same song, but the keys lighten the shady nature.
‘Open The Sky’ starts with a great line ‘cometh the hour, no sign of the man’ across a flashier intro, and much churniness, allied to throbbiness, sees it push off grandly. ‘Addiction FFS’ then takes that thrust and bears it aloft with a svelte bass wolfishness, then dual vocals cavorting like a cheerier March Violets and the recurring bass surge will keep you enthralled. Strings and lush keys bring a dewyeyed soft sheen to ‘Almost Everything’, a spot of portly Goth which remains light on its feet with another coyly dovetailed, lovely chorus. Utterly gorgeous.
A more plaintive female vocal through ‘Denied’ is closer to a smouldering folky essence, then ‘One Day ,More’ hunches into its own drama, skittery drums and nibbling guitars ensuring business beneath the shivery vocal arrows. ‘Leave You To Burn’ starts a tad syrupy and acoustic but suddenly snaps to alert with strict guitar energy wafting vocals into the heat. ‘Anywhere’ also refuses to hang about, its eager chorus rising out of dark synth and swarming glinting guitar, after which they finish with the sentimental sigh of ‘Into The Rain.’
Mature, ultra-melodic Gothic Rock, this is only partially let down, by the brevity of the lyrics. They frequently have great lines conjuring up visual impact, but they simply don’t keep it going through songs, so there’s a cosy repetition emerging, meaning that halfway through each song you pretty much know what you’re getting and I think they can develop that area and impress till further. It’s actually what most bands do, but the ability to constantly surprise is what makes a band great, so this leaves them something to aim for. Apart from that this is a fabulous record.