Sophisticated, soulful arrangements permeate BLOOD, with strings and soft keys punctuating the space between Milosh's alluring, contralto vocals

Album Review by Lewis Wade | 29 Jan 2018
  • Rhye – BLOOD
Album title: BLOOD
Artist: RHYE
Label: Caroline International/Loma Vista Recordings
Release date: 2 Feb

BLOOD, the second album from RHYE arrives almost five years after the mysterious, slow-burning Woman. In the meantime Robin Hannibal has left the duo, leaving Milosh to anchor the project's sensual longing all on his own. Working with a number of producers, he's created another collection of songs that speak directly to an intense and emotional connection with someone, and all the good, bad and sexy that come along with that.

Sophisticated, soulful arrangements permeate the record, with strings and soft keys punctuating the space between Milosh's alluring, contralto vocals. The previously released songs, Taste, Song for You and Please showcase RHYE's subdued side, relying on seductive vocals and suggestive lyrics; 'One more time for my taste / See me fall from your eyes to your waist... Give me all of you / Taste of you...,' and the entirety of Blood Knows and Stay Safe, mine the lustful depths of Milosh's psyche, tapping into the eroticism that RHYE's update of '70s quiet storm does so well.

Phoenix has a bit more of a backbone in its instrumentation – it has a guitar solo! – but it's still slinky R'n'B at heart. Orchestral strings provide dramatic flourishes at times (Sinful, Feel Your Weight), or to provide a contrast with sleek, intimate keys and synth stabs (Waste, Stay Safe), but it's Milosh's sighing Sade-esque vocals and earnest lyricism that really elevate the album.

The other early release, Count to Five, highlights this yearning amidst a padding of handclaps; 'I want... / I'm hungry for your...', go the first two choruses clipping the final word like a lover biting his lip, sure of his emotion but worried about the expression of it. In the final chorus he pleads 'Oh, make your move first' before finishing with a plaintive, exasperated 'I want you'. The conversational tone gives the song a sense of emotional verisimilitude, while the production exudes a superbly polished sheen – the twin tenets that make BLOOD so effective.

Listen to: Waste, Feel Your Weight, Count to Five