Rhye – Woman - 2013 R + B LP
Rhye – Woman
Republic Records – B001813501
Vinyl, LP, Album
12 Mar 2013
A1 Open 3:37
A2 The Fall 3:45
A3 Last Dance 3:27
A4 Verse 2:52
A5 Shed Some Blood 3:21
B1 3 Days 4:16
B2 One Of Those Summer Days 4:33
B3 Major Minor Love 3:56
B4 Hunger 3:30
B5 Woman 2:40
Mastered At – Sterling Sound
Mastered By – Tom Coyne
Mixed By – Mads Oustrup
Written-By, Recorded By, Producer, Mixed By – Rhye
Gatefold cover with printed inner sleeve and download card.
Barcode and Other Identifiers
Originally an R&B / indie pop musical duo based in Los Angeles, California, comprising founding members Canadian singer Milosh and Danish instrumentalist Robin Hannibal.
In 2017, it was reported that Robin Hannibal was no longer a member of Rhye and that the project had evolved in to a music collective led by Milosh.
( Pitchfork0 "
They released their first single, "Open", anonymously, and promoted it in a deliberately opaque fashion, like a YouTube video of Milosh serenading his wife with a solo piano rendition of the song, shot in a way where you can barely make him out in silhouette. Even after revealing their identities, the pair refuse to say where the group's name comes from or what it means, and their full names don't appear anywhere in the liner notes to their debut album, Woman.
Even without a face to attach it to, Rhye's music itself feels deeply intimate. Much of this comes from Hannibal and Milosh's deft arrangements-- each of Woman's 10 songs makes its point with a bare minimum of moving parts. Beats, basslines, and Milosh's voice are at the center of nearly all of them; although a majority of the tracks boast arrangements for horns and strings, most of these are so subtle that you might not even realize they're there until you read the liner notes afterward. The lean production leaves little space between the listener and the songs, and they feel almost touchably close.
And then of course there's Milosh's voice itself, a gorgeous and graceful countertenor that many listeners have mistaken for a woman's, especially in the days before the group unmasked themselves. He's a subtle performer, but also canny. The restraint that the pair shows in their arrangements also carries over to his singing, which rarely rises above the volume of a conversation. It's gentle, soothing, and easy to get lost in.
That voice has drawn a number of comparisons to Sade, and the music behind it only underlines those similarities. Woman offers few sounds or ways of deploying them that wouldn't be familiar to an R&B fan in the 90s, especially if they were into the British wing of the genre that at the time was focused on making gently bumping, slightly jazzy bedroom music.
And although Milosh is an outspoken critic of what he considers a trend of crass sexualization in pop music, the album still embraces the physical aspects of the romantic experience it intends to glorify. Its sensual aspects may share the same sense of self-control (it's sexy without being overtly sexual, erotic but not lascivious). As well-mannered as its carnal side may be, Woman is bound to become fodder for a tasteful boudoir soundtrack, something to be slotted next to the xx, another band Rhye's been frequently compared to.
The satin-sheets sensuality and Milosh's vocals are impressive enough that they could save an otherwise unremarkable album, but the pair are also gifted songwriters who seem even stronger as a pair than as they did separately. Woman has only one bad song on it, though it should be noted that it's seriously bad: "One of Those Summer Days" is boring and hook-free, and it not only dives face-first into the kind of sickly cloying sentimentality that they studiously avoid on the rest of the songs, but does so to the accompaniment of a drippy smooth-jazz alto sax solo.
But a good number of the remaining songs come breathtakingly close to their own kind of perfection, at least close enough that it's hard to imagine how anyone could improve them. "Open" may be so derivative of Sade that you may as well call it an homage, but considering that the closest point of comparison would be Sade's "By Your Side"-- one of the few truly perfect songs in pop history-- that's hardly a complaint. And I'd be surprised if Justin Timberlakeand the members of Phoenix aren't holding their new singles up to the lithe, clean-lined modern disco sound of "The Fall" and frowning at the results"