Album Review: Rhye – Blood

Rhye's new album is by no means a thoroughly engaging listen, but it's hard to deny the beauty of the soulful soundscapes that the duo create.


They are back with a sensual, silky and sexy bang. It has been five years since the Canadian R&B duo graced our ears with their 2013 album, Woman; five years of pining for the dulcet and smooth tones of Michael Molish that has taken us on a wistful journey of elegant harmonies and rhythmic beats since 2012.

However, as one places their headset on and enters into an atmospheric world of seductive tones, the wait is definitely worth it. Blood encapsulates what the duo do best; to create soulful voices set against slow tempos that resemble smooth caramel.

The subtle baselines, particularly heard in their third song ‘Feel Your Weight’, combined effortlessly with the funk guitar and electric keyboard create a bewitching forty two minutes. This enchanting feel cannot avert the comparison to ‘The XX’, particularly their 2012 album Coexist. Like Romey Madley Croft, the vocalist of Rhye surprises us with his melodic tones.

The album is a well-orchestrated ballad to love and senses

What is most surprising, however, is the realisation that when one looks at Rhye performing live, the main vocalist is actually a male. For it is so easy to mistake the delicate voice for that of a female alto. The dramatic album cover featuring a beautiful woman’s naked upper body further misleads the viewer into having a gender identification crisis.

But the album is not a crisis. Rather, it is a well- orchestrated ballad to love and senses. With the first two songs, ‘Waste’ and ‘Taste’, Rhye appear as double poets. Whilst they sing, “I’ll lick your wounds”, the listener cannot help but be transfixed by this evocative journey of relaxation that evokes a similar atmosphere to Jeff Buckley.

The sense of hypnotism does not stop there. Their album cover of a naked monochrome female standing defiantly amongst the clouds provides a transfixing element to ‘Blood’.

However, with the repetition of “Oh, baby please” in their fourth song as well many other songs, Rhye take us on a melodic journey but do not provide a distinct differentiation between each song. Their album is perfect for a chilled house party but not for a pedantic lyric listener who wants to learn about the world through a song.

So, when listening to ‘Blood’, sit back, relax and prepare to enter into an gentle, atmospheric tornado.

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