In 2013, Rhye arrived on the scene with the sultry bedroom track “Open.” The project’s ensuing debut album, Woman, didn’t disappoint either, evoking comparisons to the ’80s adult-pop and R&B stylings of Sade, with a contemporary twist.
Five years later, singer/producer Mike Milosh has returned, sans instrumentalist Robin Hannibal, with whom he’d collaborated on Woman. Rhye’s latest, Blood, picks up where its predecessor left off, simmering with funky, playful eroticism and electronic bells and whistles—fluttering beats, moody piano riffs and lush orchestral arrangements. Little has changed in the time Rhye has been absent, and Milosh’s sensual, smoky candor and breathy vocals feel just as rich and necessary as they did half a decade ago.
The most striking change, perhaps, is that Blood seems to capture a more vulnerable side of Rhye. From album opener “Waste” to the pleading themes of “Please,” Milosh navigates a wider web of emotions, resulting in a mixture of erotic swagger (“Taste,” “Phoenix”) and tender heartbreak. Nevertheless, Milosh manages to make loneliness and change sound sexy, and in Blood’s bolder moments, Rhye remains memorably electric.