James Rhodes' third album, Bullets & Lullabies, is a two-edged, somewhat bi-polar sword; a disc of frantic, aggressive, dramatic, fast-paced energy contrasted with a disc of a calmer, more sensitive alter ego, or in Rhodes' own words a two-disc album of 'Uppers & Downers' or 'Cocaine & Benzos'. Signed to the rock division of one of the world's biggest labels, Warner Brothers Records, Rhodes dresses like many of his label mates; jeans and trainers, casual and relaxed. He's got the trademark longish hair of a rock star and big black framed glasses to boot. The difference? Rhodes, breaking convention and the elitist stuffiness that surrounds his genre, is essentially a virtuoso classical pianist; but better than.
Rather than marathon full-length classical works, however, Bullets & Lullabies treats us to two seven-track collections of snippets from both dynamic and dramatic works and opposing calmer, more tranquil works. Having had a turbulent psychiatric history, as suggested by the titles of his previous albums, Rhodes intended this album as a glimpse of 24 hours in his world; a torrent of diverse and ever-changing emotions from anger through chaos to hope and victory and back again, in the form of two virtuosic solo discs, both of which glimmer suggestions of the other.
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