Review of Woman Album by Rhye

Rhye release their debut album 'Woman' to much applause. A lot of mystery surrounded Rhye before their identity was discovered. Was it a solo act, a duo or a band? And they almost definitely had a lead female vocalist, one that sort of had the poise of Jessie Ware and the more timid front of Romy from The XX. But no, there is no leading lady involved in Rhye's music. In fact, the act is Mike Milosh and Quadron's Robin Hannibal. It's Toronto-born producer Milosh who lends his gentle Falsetto tone to the 10-track album. This fun fact makes the album all the more intriguing. 

Rhye Woman Album

'Woman' is a chilled, tranquil listen but not a boring album by any means. The duo creates songs that fill with distant, mysterious moods. But, it still feels like an intimate album piled high with textured layers. 'Open' offers a stunning, rest-assured opener with strings evolving into a familiar clicking beat with keys. The breathiness in the majority of tracks allows for comparisons to The XX, particularly in 'Shed Some Blood'. Droplet-like sounds sparsely scatter themselves in 'Verse', which are reminiscent of James Blake.   'The Fall' sounds like it's about to burst into a down tempo Bruno Mars before introducing some elongated 'ooooohs' which sound very Alt-J from their track 'Ms'. Odd combo. 

There are also a couple of fine disco-ish tracks to be had. Unexpected, they bring some jazz to the record in 'Last Dance'; "game on, game tonight" is murmured seductively over the soulful brass sections and playful riff. The same can be said for 'Hunger'. '3 Days' is a song that provides the lyric "Oh I'm famished, so I'll eat your minerals". Interesting. 

Title track 'Woman' ends the album with drawn out vocal notes that are hard to make out as words, so they just end up lodging themselves in with the music. The voice gradually gets more intense in parts - it makes for a semi- epic ending. Delicate instruments with some deeper tones patter graciously throughout 'One of Those Summer Days', as Milosh's voice becomes yet more surreal. More noises, like the brass, flutter around free-spirited creating a humble track; though this track jumps out less compared to the others. 

Rhye have masterminded a gorgeous album in 'Woman', one that manages to produce a host of emotions packed within the slick production and laid-back affection. 

Hayley Fox

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