Rodina – Over The Sun

Album Review | AM Records | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 3/5

If you are poring over the brochures whilst the last of the snows turn to sludge, pondering upon where you might spend some summer days later in the year, then you could do a lot worse that have Rodina’s debut as the soundtrack to your daydreams. Summer is a-coming after all. With Latin rhythms from the very start, we enter Rodina’s debut with the urge to dance. There’s a distinct mariachi feel to the opening song “Always Had a Dream” courtesy of Malcolm Strachen’s assured trumpet, which is dreamily augmented by Aoife Hearty’s moody vocal. If by the band’s own admission, there’s something of an Astrud Gilberto/Zero 7 feel running through the album, the title track itself almost verges on Portishead with its broody arrangement. Some of the arrangements tend to drift off into dreamy soundscapes such as “These Things You Do” and “Corcovado” for instance, both of which define the term ‘laid back’. Others on the album have a tendency to make you sit up and take note. The instrumental arrangement on “You Cry I Cry”, featuring Atholl Ransome’s astonishing tenor sax solo is reminiscent of Ray Warleigh’s alto work on Nick Drake’s Bryter Layter period “At The Chime of A City Clock”, which defined all that was cool back then. There’s no doubting the standard of musicianship on Over the Sun, whether it be Joe Tatton’s fluid keyboard work throughout, especially on “Shine”, or any of the fine contributions from Rodina’s highly individual musicians, not forgetting the enchanting Aoife Hearty, whose songs hold the key for holding all this together. Produced by Joe Tatton, whose work with the Haggis Horns, New Mastersounds and Corinne Bailey Rae has proved his credentials for handling Rodina’s debut with a touch of class, Over The Sun is nothing less than an assured debut and with a cast of excellent musicians on board, Rodina are very definite contenders for the summer festival stages previously occupied by the likes of Groove Armada and more recently Hot Chip. Roll on summer.