29 Jun 2022

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Rhombus - Album Review: After Party

26 May 2022 // A review by Peter-James Dries

I was wearing a New Zealand Music Month hoodie the other week. Upon seeing it, my niece gleefully exclaimed “You’ve got the year I was born on your hoodie.” It was from 2012…

If that didn’t make me feel old, then hearing the name Rhombus again was sure going to.

Rhombus are still ‘round?!
That’s more of a shaped-based pun twenty years in the making, than a genuine question.
I’m listening to a preview of their new album, After Party, so I know the answer already.
Rhombus are back, and they’re bringing a boat-load of nostalgia with them.

As if in the interests of nostalgia, the album kicks off with Interlude III. For the Netflix-generation, which would denote a sequel or re-quel of 2005’s Future Reference. Unlike a Netflix reboot, After Party doesn’t kill any goodwill or memories held for the original.

After Party is how you do a reboot properly, though it is less a reboot and more a continuation.
Wobbly bass, frenetic drum lines, and echoed synth; Rhombus are still the masters of their distinctive and unique hybrid Dub n’ Bass sound. It’s a sound that has always reminded me of the sea, and being shooed out to the garden when Aunty needs some quiet time with Uncle.

However, the true highlight, as with all Rhombus albums, is the choice and contributions of the guest instrumentalists and singers. To flog a dead metaphor, it’s the true icing on the cake, speaking to those that want to listen rather than feel the music.

For some context and perspective, their most iconic track, Clav Dub, came out when I was in high school. The track is now old enough to graduate from University with an Arts degree. If you’re not… Well the track is such an iconic Kiwi staple that you’ve probably heard it playing in your dad’s garage while he’s out there ‘brewing’, or on your uncle’s car stereo when he rocked up to your family BBQ late. Perhaps even at that one pub in your provincial town that hasn’t updated their Saturday night playlist since 2003.

If you’re looking for a Father’s Day gift idea, and the Rhombus self-titled is their last CD on your Dad’s shelf, I’m sorry to tell you he’s not missing any. Until the new singles Your Love and Treat You So Right dropped in 2020 and 2022 respectively, the music charts hadn’t really heard from Rhombus since 2008. They’re not one of those groups that continued releasing albums for the past decade in secret. Read “in secret” as albums no-one heard because no-one promoted them. You know those follow-up albums that become the death knell of bands that once took up every second music video slot on every single music video show.

The music climate has changed a lot since then, both in terms on content and how it’s digested. You can’t really make it big by having your Goodbye Pork Pie inspired music video plastered over music centric TV shows anymore. I don’t even know if music centric TV shows still exist. I guess there’s Juice TV, but that’s only there to fill the silence in KFC.

I don’t know if that was Rhombus’ scene anyway. The true Rhombus experience was at their shows. Here’s hoping this reunion gets them back out on the road. That’s where they’ll win over the kids. The music is made to be moved to. Spotify will never do it justice.

I have a good feeling about After Party. As it gets colder, this tropical oasis of a record is what the country needs. The Rhombus name is going to bring in the old listeners. The Rhombus sound will get the rest. Five starts of five.

You can find Rhombus on Bandcamp.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Rhombus

One of Aotearoa’s finest ensemble of musicians...

The Rhombus sound is a seamless blend of hip-hop, soul, funk, dub and bass roots-reggae, spliced together with socially conscious lyrics.

They've forged a well-deserved reputation as one of New Zealand's most original and energetic live acts, selling out shows and festivals across the country.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Rhombus


After Party
Year: 2022
Type: Album
Year: 2008
Type: Album
Future Reference
Year: 2005
Type: Album
Bass Player Special Edition
Year: 2003
Type: Album
Bass Player
Year: 2002
Type: Album

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