Friday, February 9, 2018

Rhye - Blood Review

In Earth's lifespan, five years is inconsequential. In a human's, it's meaningful. In the Internet's, it's obsolete. On this planet, time passes along with strict precision, yet depending on how it's viewed, events contained within come and go with striking discrepancy. Earth wouldn't notice the gap between Rhye's debut Woman and its follow-up Blood. Humans would revisit the two projects as being from the same era. The Internet has gone through countless iterations that find Rhye's sleek Sophisti-Pop unnecessary in 2018, despite maintaining relevance just five years back. It's an ugly pattern that doesn't honor patience. With Woman, the unsung duo of Mike Milosh and Robin Hannibal made their mark on music off talent alone, something Milosh (now starring solo as Rhye) hopes to mimic with Blood. But a lackluster array of ideas, failure to advance past the starting point, and the effective archaicness of their Dior-branded Alternative R&B, cause Rhye's long-awaited follow-up to wallow in normality. Something the malcontent art-swallowers don't take too kindly to.

Like Woman before it, Blood concerns itself with the primetime sensuality of R&B, both in the crisp production that's draped in satin, and the lyrics which honor love with dedicated chivalry. The same techniques are emphasized as well, including Milosh's teary-eyed vocals and a tendency to accentuate unusual production (for R&B) whilst limiting involvement to design Rhye's signature, cavernous beauty. Examples are abound, but none showcase the Milosh's array of skills better than 'Taste.' The single may be Rhye's best piece to date, as Milosh offsets his melancholy with a restrained bounce in the hook, while the production thrives off linear progression that sees 'Taste' rise and fall in tone, despite ascending all at once. By the climax, an emanating array of springily percussion dances across the plucked strings, creating a lively atmosphere that's most similar to 'The Fall.' Elsewhere, opener 'Waste' also employs this mounting progression, but decides to swap importance between the strings and percussion, as the former peaks with eerie allure similar to a vintage movie soundtrack.

Let it be known, the production throughout Blood is immaculate. Rhye's delicacy never ceases to be a pleasure to listen to. 'Feel Your Weight' fancies an upbeat ensemble of Soul horns, 'Song For You' drones with such breathtaking consistency, 'Please' counters Milosh's quenched romance with a dingy piano hiding in the darkness. However, while this style represents the potential tenderness Alternative R&B has, it's also something Rhye developed five years ago, and there's no denying the growth since then is mute. Not only can the bulk of these songs, apart from the oddly paced finale 'Sinful,' be interchanged with Woman's collection, Blood as a whole feels like little more than a companion piece. Five years later, the lack of alteration is as impressive as it is disappointing. Think of a blockbuster, superhero sequel where the villain changes, the set-pieces too, but the overarching script follows the exact same rules and rituals. Blood's a safe album, one that relies on picturesque singing and sleek production to craft credible R&B tunes for the alternative crowd. Milosh isn't, as one might've hoped given his aesthetic and lengthy retreat from the limelight, an artist capable of elevating Alternative R&B out of the drudgery it currently finds itself in.


  1. Hannibal left Rhye shortly after the release of their debut album. You might consider writing a new review since Hannibal's tendency to accentuate unusual production (for R&B) whilst limiting involvement to design Rhye's signature, cavernous beatty, isn't present

    1. Seriously?! I am getting so many mixed messages. I initially had Rhye as a solo act but someone corrected me, and now it's the opposite. Thanks for the heads-up! I'll make corrections.