The definitive chronological Rhubarb compilation covering the last decade. 37 tracks spread over 2 Cds, many of them professionally re-mastered for the first time have been selected based on listener feedback and votes as well as digital downloads, representing a complete overview of this obscure Edinburgh artist's work.
5/5 ***** This two disc anthology contains tracks from 15 albums recorded by Richard Haswell between 1998 and 2008. Up until 2004 he recorded using 4-track, and since then it has all been recorded by laptop. And it sounds fantastic. As would be expected from this set up, many of the songs are just guitar and vocals, although often with an added edge. Act 3 starts off this way before moving into a heads down no-nonsense boogie that Status Quo would be proud of. Hannalou brings to mind Ryan Adams, Phoenix is 5 minutes of out and out rock, sounding a little like Beck's Novacaine, and a couple of tracks (Cuckoo and Flotsam) sound like Joshua Tree era U2 (which for one man recording on 4-track is quite an achievement). Hell Is In Hello has heavily distorted vocals over a wonderful 80's style synth, and Molly and Me is reminiscent of Violator era Depeche mode. The following track Jesters and Kings is a Big Country style epic with lyrics revolving around battles and fire. The most heartening thing about this compilation, is that it is the tracks from the two most recent albums The Julius Work Calendar and If I Could Only Make It Through January which standout. Perfect Parallel is a gentle acoustic song, which contrasts perfectly with the more abrasive and distorted Brick By Brick. The last three tracks all come from If I could Only Make It Through January and after all the distortion, feedback and static of previous songs, finds Haswell in acoustic reflection, content to leave his vocals unadorned. This is a terrific introduction to the music of Rhubarb, and hopefully it will lead to the success, and recognition, that he so richly deserves. --Is This Music
Some names inspire mystery and awe. Rhubarb isn t one of them. Rhubarb the band is one person: Edinburgh based guitarist-singer-songwriter Richard Haswell. Since 1998 he has released over 20 albums, and a large chunk of them are represented on this 37 track / 2 CD-r anthology. Considering the time span and the wealth of material on offer, the sound and style remain consistent throughout. Haswell deals in folk nuanced melancholia and simple, fragile, uplifting, indie guitar pop. Nothing too taxing on the surface, but his words beguile and bewilder in equal measure, and without overstating his case, it s understandable how he commands the sort of respect amongst his small but loyal band of supporters, that is usually reserved for cult favourites like Simon Joyner and Paul Roland. It almost seems pointless listing the titles and emphasising particular favourites, as different songs will mean different things to different people. If you re yet to dip your toes into the Rhubarb patch, then this is the obvious place to begin. It wont be for everyone; the lack of gloss may well alienate some, but for those with open minds and in search of shelter from the corporate storm, go here, pronto: www.worldofrhubarb.co.uk --Leicester Bangs
Some more quality songwriting can be heard on Anthology 98-08 , a double CD collection culled from the 21 albums released so far by Richard Haswell, working under the name Rhubarb. Similar in feel to Paul Roland or Early 90 s Robyn Hitchcock, this is thoughtful and intelligent music that slowly draws you in and then enchants you. Mainly quieter in construction, there is still plenty of variation with the storming Hawkwind like rocker Phoenix , shaking the dust from your brain right in the middle of disc one, whilst the psychedelic Red Sky from the same disc has a definite Porcupine tree vibe. On disc two, the delightful Travel Song will make you smile, the pastoral Act 3 will make you want to open a window and the spiralling guitar of The Fall of the Sparrow will make you want to turn the ****er up. With 37 song to choose from there is always something here to keep you amused and nothing to make you recoil in fear. An excellent introduction to an independent and talented musician --Terrascope Online