7 Jun 2023

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James Kohler - Single Review: Rhea

15 May 2023 // A review by Peter K Malthus

Rhea is the latest single from Auckland-based James Kohler, a seasoned practitioner of "prog-pop/indie psychedelia". Rhea tells the story of the eponymous protagonist's life working in a department store, but it isn't an especially positive story.

I was instantly drawn to comparisons with Lou Reed/Velvet Underground with this track. The opening few instrumental bars have a deliciously '60s vibe to them. The subdued playing of the drummer and bass guitarist provide a mellow, lulling rhythm for the sweetly jangly guitar and Manzarek-like keys to lilt dreamily over, the whole effect leading one to perhaps expect an ode to a sweetheart.

However, the lyrics more lean towards the dark, in a wonderful juxtaposition of moods. The narrator is far from impressed with watching Rhea's slow decline, as the soulless company she's employed by pass her over for promotion, move her to less desirable locales and departments, seemingly never valuing her worth in a way that she expects them to. "Rhea... reinvent your life!" is the narrator's heartfelt plea in the chorus, even though he can tell it's going to fall on deaf ears. 

If you're having a sad day, if your life feels meaningless or directionless, pop Rhea on for a listen. Once you've compared your life to Rhea's, you'll be having a better day. Plus, the music is lovely.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About James Kohler

An established member of Tamaki Makaurau's rich music scene, James Kohler spins effortless nuggets of prog-pop/indie psychadelia.

His body of work runs deep, with plans to expand on his output with a never ending bootleg series.

His studio album Will and Way is due for release early 2023. Speckled with brightly shining pop hooks and natural musicianship, his lyrics detail a spiritual journey amid the increasingly materialistic and nihilistic culture of our times. Will and Way is an honest plea towards fighting inner peace, without losing the spirit to live the good fight in this life.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for James Kohler


Time Won't Be Kind
Year: 2020
Type: Album
Somewhere Else
Year: 2015
Type: EP

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