This is a review of "Horsefly" recorded by Rhode Island. The review was written by Mark Gill in 2007.
“We’re in for a treat here,” was my first thought when glimpsing this rather professional looking, although homemade, I’m assured, CD. Indeed, one of the reasons I was interested to hear this CD was that the band’s name conjured up thoughts of American indie bands in the same vein as Matt Pond PA etc.
Indeed, at first there does seem to be a similarity in the melancholic feel to the music, and the rather less distorted guitar sounds, on the title track. Rhode Island certainly seem determined to set themselves apart from the rest of aspiring British bands. Clocking in at around four minutes, these songs are no punky two-minute thrash-along. Which is nice. Indeed, I cant think of another song that manages to fit the word ‘nitro-glycerine’ into its lyrics, other than the title track, ‘Horsefly’.
‘Give The Stars Some Time,’ clearly displays the bands fondness for the Beach Boys, which is evident in the jangly, laid back guitar effect, and backing vocal harmonies, which chase and mirror lead singer Will Turner’s lead vocals in the chorus. Certainly one for a summer’s day barbecuing in Hyde Park.
Gentle drum rolls in the slow-burning ‘Fortress’ nicely complement the sleepy acoustic and lead guitar, which sounds almost xylophone-like, and the song slowly builds towards the end grabbing at your heart and tear ducts. An extra violin adds an extra layer and warmth to this good, slow-burning ballad, which ends sounding almost like Sufjan Stevens, although with perhaps less than Stevens’ customary plethora of around thirty instruments used.
There is a definite feel of an Americana influence in Rhode Island’s music. Not that that should put you off, its put across in a very accessible, non-country-twang way. It should be considered an achievement, this demo, but not just for musical reasons. Only two years ago, guitarist Jeff was having his tendons reattached via surgery. Now, obviously playing guitar without tendons is a bit of a problem, so Rhode Island have done very well to play the kind of delicate finger picked rhythms that they display on this EP The band display an intelligence in their song-writing, which is an important part of extending a band’s longevity. All the members are clearly talented on the instruments, with which they equip themselves, and given these assets, they deserve to become an important fixture of the northern music scene.