Rhye – Blood review
As the soothing sounds of Rhye’s second album float past, plenty of comparisons come to mind. Take The xx, whose disdain for unnecessary ornamentation can be heard in Blood’s comforting, diaphanous arrangements.
Listen, for instance, to how Taste breaks down to just voice, strings and piano, or how its woodwind flourishes elsewhere remain as subtle as the distant voice that whispers “Shhh…” Then there’s Norah Jones, whose tasteful sensitivity is echoed on Song For You by frontman Mike Milosh’s gender-fluid vocals.
“One might also note how Count To Five recalls the trip-hop sound of early Massive Attack, or how the closing Sinful – which could be mistaken for a collaboration between Agnes Obel and Jose Gonzales – mirrors the immaculate poise of Morcheeba’s The Sea.” – Wyndham Wallace
Furthermore, the restrained, jazzy piano of Please might remind one of Bob James’ Angela (Theme From Taxi), and yet its early phrases sound uncannily like Dennis Waterman’s theme to Minder. (Fortunately, its understated groove and elegant strings ensure this latter impression is swiftly banished!) An even more unlikely comparison, however, comes at Blood’s start.
Waste – which begins with a simple, sparse beat, soft keyboard accompaniment, and a voice so serene that warm breath tickles your ears – conjures up the same air of intimate companionship The Blue Nile inspired with Hats’ masterful opener, Over The Hillside. Milosh’s vague lyrics can’t, of course, hold a candle to Paul Buchanan’s, yet these two contrasting projects – although separated by almost 30 years – share a schooled sense of effortless grace.
Although primed by state-of-the-art technology, the Scottish band’s records haven’t dated well. Blood – with its slinky R&B influences and elegant melancholy – is similarly of the here and now, and how its hushed tunes will fare is equally hard to predict.
Nevertheless, in songs like Stay Safe, whose beat feels no heavier than a welcome hand on your thigh, and Feel Your Weight – the sound of Sade tipsy on Champagne – the mysterious collective has fashioned something that aspires to the timelessness of the many comparisons they invite. It’s pretty bloody good, all told, whoever it may sound like.