Rodes: All Of My Friends |  ★★★★  | Self-released; Nov. 19


MK Rodenbough’s debut as Rodes, All of My Friends, is a revelatory record that magnificently captures the anxieties and pitfalls of early adulthood.

Produced by Alex Bingham (Hiss Golden Messenger, The Dead Tongues), the album is a pastiche of pastoral folk and evocative nineties indie rock that finds Rodenbough ruminating on love, loss, and insecurities. But despite the serious nature of the subject matter, Rodenbough’s songs contain a hesitant sense of hope, making All of My Friends a remarkable ode to resilience.

Album opener “Eyes” is the record’s most upbeat, catchy track. With distorted guitars and a bouncy drumbeat, Rodenbough delivers an earworm of a hook that outlines the internal struggles that come with anxiety. “Eyes are watching / eyes are on me / Hold me closer, please, somebody,” Rodenbough sings in the song’s refrain. This juxtaposition of contemplative choruses and catchy melodies make a record full of weighty topics a surprisingly easy listen.

Rodenbough’s song-writing skills are further embellished by the musical stylings of standout Triangle musicians, including Skylar Gudasz, Ryan Johnson (American Aquarium), and MK’s sibling Libby Rodenbough (Mipso).

Bare-boned, folky jaunt “So Well” is lifted by Bingham’s bouncy bass lines and Johnson’s lilting lead guitar, while “Better Felt’’ is a slow-grooving, fuzzed-out tune that eschews the album’s southern twists for subtle psychedelic swirls.

While the record is packed with plenty of musically compelling moments, Rodenbough’s light shines brightest when their evocative storytelling takes the forefront. As the album closes with the sobering “Them, Not Me,” Rodenbough laments that “I should have gone out … but I couldn’t shake this feeling of weight on me / And I couldn’t take … the way it comes easily to them, not me.”

Rodenbough’s gripping self-awareness washes over the listener as they croon these closing words. It’s a brilliant blend of grit and grace that closes the chapter on the struggles and triumphs of a young adult exploring uncertainty.


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