Artist Profile: The Rushes

September 23rd, 2007 by admin

Likely heir apparents to the British piano-rock throne, the Rushes’ sound falls somewhere between the Fray and Air Traffic. Now, that sentence alone is probably enough for you to close the page and go back to jacking off to whatever I Guess I’m Floating posted this week, but WAIT – I promise this is actually really good. Better than good, even; their self-titled digital-only debut EP is actually one of my favorite releases of the year.

Featuring four able-bodied vocalists including frontman/guitarist Gerard O’Connell and singer-pianist Dan Armstrong, the Rushes aren’t doing anything terribly new, they’re just doing it really fucking well. O’Connell knows how to use his impassioned, ivory-backed vocals to elicit a significant emotional connection from the listener and said connection is only heightened by Armstrong’s wistful keys work. Basically, this is ideal music for brooding 15 year-olds who omg-just-got-totally-dumped to sneak into their backyards and smoke cigarettes to at night to. That said, these are fucking great pop songs.

“Ripping It Down” is the obvious single and most immediate track of the bunch because, simply put: it’s catchy as shit. Assuming you can get past that incredibly (incredibly) lame 24-second intro, you’re in for a treat: a hyper-addictive chorus, wonderful piano-driven melodies and percussion far superior to that normally found on tracks by bands of their ilk (just wait for that closing drum freak-out at the end). “Will You Won’t You” narrowly edges out “What You Waiting For” as the next best thing here, though both are every bit as good as the A-side (though not as catchy), if not better. All three B-sides come to a distinct emotional climax in which a particularly emotive (and typically fairly cliche) lyric rises above the rest of the verses in an impassioned vocal outburst that generally sums up the entire idea of the song in what appears to have become the Rushes’ signature “moment”, if you will. For example, “Will You Won’t You” revolves around that classic night-out dilemma (Will our protagonist be able to seal the deal with his new love interest?) and the song’s essential climax comes when the instrumentation drops out and all the energy of the track comes to a head with a desperate, “Is it gonna happen?!”. It’s one of the individual highlights of an EP that’s excellent all the way through, with the weakest track – if you can even call it that – coming in the form of “Get The Feeling”, a song that’s nothing to sneeze at in its own right.

Sure, the Rushes will probably go the way of Ghosts and Air Traffic before them after teaming up with a big-shot producer and realizing they could easily access Coldplay-esque stratospheres of fame, but between their debut EP and the tracks on their MySpace (I’m particular, er, taken by “Easily Taken”), there’s more than enough reason to get excited about the Rushes in the meantime.

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