Rhye is a curious beast; as a duo, Canadian singer Mike Milosh and Danish producer Robin Hannibal released their critically acclaimed first album Woman in 2013. Shortly after, the pair went their separate ways, and Milosh continued largely solo while recruiting his own live band members. Blood is Milosh's follow up, and while there's intelligence and strong ideas at play, it's a deceptively shallow listen.
Musically, Blood is a focused, meditative record; it draws from a palette of soft-pop instruments, slow tempos and layered falsettos. Milosh's pale, delicate voice alone is unique enough to win listeners over, and paired with the right padded production, certain songs offer the audial equivalent of drawing a deep, stabilising breath. Feel Your Weight's devilish bass line and eccentric synths are smoothly retro treat, while Count to Five is one of the funkier turns on the record. Other tracks stay frustratingly one-note, and these flashes of wit are too brief.
A closer look at the album's lyrics reveals disappointing results. Milosh is often rather on the nose when singing of sexual relations, and in the aforementioned Feel Your Weight, he veers into the uncomfortable as he tells a lover to "surrender to your knees". This, paired with Rhye's exploitative use of the naked female body on their album art (as well as early singles), lands as a timely example of brazenly tone-deaf male artistry. A male artist using the female body as the cover of a record in which he disrespects women lands sourly in 2018 – especially when the record fails to deliver on its own promises.
Loma Vista Recordings
A smooth, well-constructed listen that trips over its own tonal misfires