Reckless – RX (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Pop songs driven by acoustic guitar don’t always reap great results. But that’s because most artists essentially try to take a folk music approach to a genre that celebrates very different sonic elements. The result is very often a middle ground, light-weight, ballad, one which makes use of neither pop’s infectious wants nor folks’ more cinematic needs. It’s all about changing the mindset and approaching the task from a very different angle.

RX understands this only too well and although it is his acoustic guitar which provides the melody to Reckless, it is a song built on a staccato, punchy riff which is then given lots of space to let it pop and percolate. And if that guitar sound, accompanied by minimal beats and sparing bass pulses, is perhaps used as just a structure upon which to hang the more obvious and engaging musical elements, it is his deftness in choosing those elements which marks the song out as being ahead of the pack. Way ahead of the pack.

It is perhaps the clever vocal texturing and layering which provides the main point of contact, from his own pop tones to Linzy Collins more ethereal lines to the ever-rising sound of gospel-infused choral ranks. Add a few modern production tricks, a few electronic embellishments to underline and add weight where needed but mainly allow room to let everything breathe, and you have a smart take on soulful, modern pop built of smart choices and brilliant spatial awareness.

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