Rhoda May are an instrumental progressive rock outfit from Surrey who have put together their début EP ‘Sessions’ in a rather intriguing way. The six songs featured on ‘Sessions’ are the product of two live sessions the band recorded for a series of live videos. This means the songs on ‘Sessions’ were all recorded in a single take.
Listening to ‘Sessions’ without this prior knowledge would lead you to think this was a highly polished and extremely well written slab of prog rock because the members of Rhoda May don’t put a foot wrong. Seriously, there isn’t a mistake to be heard and each of the three members of the band should be commended for such a tight performance.
So what about the music? As we’re dealing with instrumental music here the real question has to be, “is the music interesting enough for the band to warrant their lack of vocalist?” You’ll be happy to hear that the answer is a resounding “yes”. Rhoda May have carved a wonderful little niche as an instrumental version of Biffy Clyro mixed with In Case of Fire and a additional helping of Tool thrown in for good measure. The songs on ‘Sessions’ progress into huge sprawling behemoths and generally build from a memorable guitar hook into an almighty, Earth-shattering riff.
Guitarist Will Pain and bassist Andy Page have a brilliant musical relationship that keeps the trio sounding massive at all times. When Pain isn’t playing chords, Page does a wonderful job of keeping the melodies flowing and the band’s lack of rhythm guitarist doesn’t hurt their sound in the slightest. In fact, I’d go a step further and say that without a rhythm guitarist you are rewarded with an even greater impact when Pain shifts to chords and lets loose with some wonderfully chunky riffs.
The only real negative I can throw at Rhoda May is I think the way they’ve named their EP and the individual songs does them a disservice. The rather uninspiring record title is matched with rather bland song titles which are a series of random numbers. The first track is simply titled ‘#3’ for instance. This gives the EP a rather rushed and lazy presentation which is completely at odds with the amazing musicianship on display.
Otherwise, Rhoda May have done a wonderful job of making engaging, interesting and enormous sounding prog rock in the form of their début EP ‘Sessions’. The live nature of the release manages to showcase a supremely talented bunch of individuals with amazing song writing talent and an ear for no frills spectacle. ‘Sessions’ is a gargantuan début that only has us begging for more. God only knows how incredible Rhoda May will sound when they put forward a release recorded in more than two recording sessions.
Rhoda May’s ‘Sessions’ is released independently by the band on the 6th of January 2014.