Brit Rockers Rhyn formed in 2010 but it has only been in the last few years that they put together a permanent line-up and they have been building on that ever since. Fresh for 2016 comes their latest EP Absence which at 6 tracks long, is more a mini LP than a single.
It’s pretty clear from opening track “Elegy” (and this is strengthened throughout the EP) that the sound of Rhyn is built around Chris Black’s voice. The references given when I received the EP mentioned Biffy Clyro and Muse and these influences are clear to hear, but Black’s singing voice would actually suit a variety of musical styles so it comes as no surprise that they use this as their strength. It’s clear, and at times gentle, almost personal and when they need to rock he can do that too. What is also clear very early in this EP is that again the production leans towards this, and the vocals are crystal clear and sit comfortably above the music.
“Elegy” is a lot rockier than I was expecting. I had heard a couple of Rhyn tracks previously and these had been more ballad-led. This is more the rockier side of Biffy and it’s a strong opener, it is something that suits Rhyn well. It’s good to hear the dynamics that they are capable of when the band really gets going. The stop start guitars underlying the vocals works well. With this type of song it would have been so easy just to go form this opening verse into something that was just noisy and loud but Rhyn have been a lot more understated than this, breaking into a reflective and quiet bridge early before reintroducing those guitars and slowly building the song up. Its great use of progressive build up by introducing, different instruments and then upping the pace of these one by one. We even get a scream of passion at one point. This song twists and turns though and the Muse like ending is more than welcome, adding atmosphere but keeping that rockier edge to the song.
The second song, “Fall Away”, was the song on this EP which really caught my attention on my first play. It’s the opening guitar sequences more than anything, backed with a touch of piano, it is instantly engaging. The piano continues to back the vocals in the opening verses and adds a level of emotion and pop sensibility to the song. This is more in line of what I have heard from Rhyn and is another great song. The “Fall Away” chorus sounding almost like a rockier version of Travis.
“Finite Bodies” is a slow burner, whilst on the one it takes a little while to get going once it does I love the call and return style vocals which transform into several backing vocals taking place at once. This song returns to the rockier side of Rhyn and although this is a band that is very good at the slower songs for me it is in these edgier and more frenetic songs that we see a side to Rhyn that is really worth exploring.
“Victory” is another track worth a mention. What I liked about it was the mix up of styles within the song, It starts with quite a distinctive vocal style and as the song progresses it builds up first with rhythm guitar, and then melodies are added over the top before they apply the stop start style guitars once again to great effect.
“The Only Place” is a much more gentle tune and Black sings of being trapped in his own head and thoughts. ‘I can’t tell what is fake and what is real without you I cannot feel’ Black whispers before all the band kicks in to take the song onto a new level.
Overall the Absence EP is a great short player with each song being enjoyable. It gives a great insight to what Rhyn are capable of and when it comes to their first long player I hope that they take the time to explore all the different aspects to their repertoire rather than play it too safe with the slow burning ballads. What Absence does is give us a glimpse in what Rhyn are capable of and I for one would love to see them explore the harder edge to their sound further and let the guitars loose a little bit more. This to me is an EP that is very much a band developing their talents and points to a promising future.
Absence is due out on 19 February 2016.