LA duo Rhye, comprised of singer Mike Milosh and producer Robin Hannibal, prove that alternative R&B is here to stay with their debut release, entitled Woman. Milosh’s soothing and androgynous vocals blend together with the downtempo rhythms of Hannibal’s instrumentation. The group released two singles, “Open” and “The Fall”, in late 2012, doing so without much press. The singles quickly caught on and they announced that a full-length would be released on March 4th.
The album opens, fittingly enough, with the track “Open”; starting with a string and horn melody that unfolds into a soothing, chilled out song, topped by Milosh’s haunting falsetto and sparse lyricism. The instrumentation hints at melancholy undertones, and Milosh’s lyrics back that up, singing about broken love and trying to stay open. “The Fall” picks up the tempo and mood, proving to be one of the ‘dancier’ tracks on the album. “Last Dance” is another highlight, with the instrumentation of the song somewhat remnant of 70’s R&B, with a crunchy guitar line and stabbing horns. “Verse” brings the tempo back down to a crawl, and has the sparsest instrumentation on the album, which really allows Milosh’s emotions to come through on the track.
“Shed Some Blood” also has sparse instrumentation, but the funky guitar returns, along with the beautiful vocal harmonies Milosh creates on this track. “3 Days” brings the dance back, with a steady bass line and tasteful synth riff resonating throughout. “One of Those Summer Days” begins with a beautiful guitar line and is accompanied by Milosh’s stunning voice and lyricism, which holds true throughout the track. “Major Minor Love” and “Hunger” follow next, continuing to balance between melancholy and upbeat, both coming through in their own regards. The final track, “Woman”, proves to be a very solid title track, as this song in particular captures the way Hannibal provides very ethereal yet substantial instrumentation, allowing Milosh to create simply beautiful vocal harmonies.
With the release of Woman, one can only hope that Rhye continues as a project of these two musicians so our ears can be graced by beauty like this for years to come.
Written by Josh Olson, Radio K volunteer.