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Happy Rhodes - Building the Colossus CD (album) cover


Happy Rhodes


Crossover Prog

3.05 | 3 ratings

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3 stars Not really like Kate Bush

American singer/songwriter Happy Rhodes (born Kimberly Rhodes, legally changed to Happy) is often described as another Kate Bush wannabe just as Tori Amos is. But just like Tori, she really isn't like Kate Bush. She just has a voice with a similar high range and some people stretch this to believe her composition is actually a clone. In reality Kate Bush in her prime was more progressive (for those who care) and made better albums than Happy Rhodes. Just my opinion of course, and I do think Happy Rhodes is very cool and well worth your time. But there's little here that approaches "The Dreaming" in terms of fantasmic creativity and I'd wager Rhodes herself might agree.

The best adjective for Rhodes unique voice I've ever heard is "supernatural." She truly is one amazing vocalist. She has this multi-octave voice with distinctly different personalities. One sounds very close to Kate Bush while the lower voice sounds very much like Annie Lennox to me. So her tracks can sound like Kate Bush and Annie Lennox doing a duet which in itself is fascinating! Musically however this is probably one of Happy's more pop-sounding albums, with basic backing tracks that sound like early Sarah McLachlan, but with much more interesting vocals. "Just like Tivoli" is one of Rhodes most beautiful compositions ever, a slow lament on war in the gorgeous Italian village, great use of poetic lyrics. "Pride" is another highlight, very soft and introspective. "Down, Down" is probably my favorite track of this set. Very eclectic and ambitious, it features complex vocal arrangements, cool bass lines, and some neat guitar effects from guest David Torn. "Big Dreams Big Life" brings in the cello of Monica Wilson for another color on this short but dreamy, lovely song. Her songs generally grab a catchy melody and provide a sparse backing with laid back keyboards, acoustic guitars, electronic and real drumming, and bass. Occasionally some tasteful electric guitar is provided by Torn. She arranges these songs nicely but usually returns to her catchy chorus eventually. This is the album where I believe she most went for commercial success as the material is very accessible. Earlier albums can be stranger while "Many Worlds" ventured further into the electronic realm.

I'm happy to see Happy finally grace the archives and hope many readers of this site will take time to discover her.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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