A versatile and accomplished debut from one of the brightest new bands on the British music scene.
15th June saw the release of British boyband Rixton‘s debut album, Let the Road. The four piece have recently finished supporting Ariana Grande on her world tour, and are currently supporting Ed Sheeran on certain dates during his tour of North America. With the members of One Direction deciding to pursue solo projects, Rixton’s popularity is increasing at a great rate and as a result they are quickly beginning to establish themselves as one of the world’s biggest boybands.
Let the Road has been a six-year process from the Manchester boys. The opening track, which is the title track of the album, can be best described as a soulful and emotional a cappella performance. The song was written by band members Jake Roche (vocals) and Danny Wilkin (keyboard) in the latter’s caravan in his back garden in Blackpool just after the band started out. It is also poetically reminiscent of the a cappella Christmas video they did for their fans before they were discovered by talent mogul Scooter Braun, which coincidentally was the only video Braun saw of the boys before snapping them up. The two say that the track is all about family and never forgetting where you’re from, and this raw emotion definitely comes across. The track builds beautifully throughout and by the time it ends, the next track, ‘Wait On Me’, comes as a great injection of pace and energy.
‘Wait On Me’ was the second single released from the album and peaked at number 12 in the UK Singles Charts. The track is arguably one of the most unique on the album, but can draw certain similarities to the earlier work of Maroon 5. ‘Appreciated’ follows and brings the tone slightly back down from the pacey second track. When performed live, it is performed in an acoustic setting with just a singular guitar and a cajon, but on the record the use of a full drum kit and synth notes played from a keyboard bring it up a level. The track is a relaxing one that can easily be sung along too and, as a result, will get stuck in your head for at least the next few hours after listening to it.
‘Beautiful Excuses’ follows and is the second track on the record that was written by the band members. The song was written about Roche’s ex-girlfriend who, as his bandmates put it, was “a douche”. It has a similar feel emotionally to ‘Appreciated’ and ‘Let the Road’, but builds a lot more towards the end with a classic boyband ballad key-change and a thoroughly enjoyable guitar solo, supplied by the very talented Charley Bagnell. The pace then ramps up again with the band’s debut single and first UK number one, ‘Me And My Broken Heart’.
The world’s favourite ginger vocalist and guitarist, Ed Sheeran, co-write the next song on the album, ‘Hotel Ceiling’. The track is a haunting ballad, with military-style drumming from Lewi Morgan throughout and soft piano playing from Wilkin. The album then takes a drastic turn with the introduction of a very fun reggae track. ‘I Like Girls’, which was co-written by Mike Posner, will guarantee to put a smile on your face and make you reminisce about hot summers spent on the beach sipping on a rum and coke or a fancy cocktail of your choosing. I will not be surprised if this is the band’s next single as I would bet my bottom dollar on it being an massive hit.
The upbeat vibes continue with ‘Speakerphone’, the third track on Let the Road that was exclusively written by the band, and the current single that is all over the radio, ‘We All Want The Same Thing’. Roche’s vocal capabilities are flaunted in their latest hit, remaining in a distinctively higher pitch than normal throughout its duration. The frontman has said that Justin Timberlake was his biggest influence growing up, and that definitely comes across on this song, with hints of the American’s ‘My Love’ coming through.
The record finishes with another emotional track in the form of the much softer ‘Whole’. Perfect harmonies are performed throughout the song and it brings the album to a very perfect and uplifting climax.
Let the Road is a very versatile and very accomplished record. It takes you on the emotional roller coaster that life’s path takes you on, and it almost seems to give you an insight into the deepest parts of the band’s lives. With One Direction’s future domination in the boyband market very much in question, I can quite easily see Rixton taking their throne at the top of the pop mantle in the coming years. Jake Roche displays incredible vocal talents during every track and the accompaniment of three extremely talented musicians in Wilkin, Bagnall and Morgan make this an almost perfect debut record.
I already can not wait for new music from these lads. They’re great.
Let the Road is out now via School Boy and Interscope Records.