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Rhye - Home (Album Review)

Friday, 22 January 2021 Written by Jacob Brookman

Photo: Emma Marie Jenkinson

For Rhye’s fourth full-length album, Canadian singer-songwriter Mike Milosh has leant into dreamy disco, delivering a record of effervescent melodies and sticky beats. It’s a good LP that manages to be versatile and listenable despite never quite achieving liftoff.

A good example of this dynamic is found on Safeword, a track that has pleasing disco-heritage strings (Milosh is a cellist) and nimble chord switcharoos that give an intellectual edge to music that is breezy and diaphanous. 

That said, some of this softness makes the songwriting a bit forgettable. Milosh’s falsetto means that otherwise punchy melodies come and go almost incognito.

The tracks that deliver best are Come in Closer and Black Rain, which has a music video directed by British multimedia artist Sam Taylor-Johnson. In it, her actor husband, Aaron, dances in a dimly lit garden while the motion speed varies on the film hypnotically. 

While distinctive, there is a pomposity to the video that makes it slightly tedious viewing. It feels like it works as background viewing at an L.A. arts happening attended by the director and subject themselves, and this reflects back on the record unattractively.

But ‘Home’ is at its best when dealing with these quicker grooves. For example, ‘Hold You Down’ is an ephemeral slow jam that lands halfway between 1990s Prince and a Canterbury schoolboy choir. It’s a fairly original blend of genres, and one that Milosh nearly pulls off.

‘Home’ is excellent background listening, the type of record you would hear in a coffee shop, Shazam and then forget. But one big tick in its favour is that unlike recent genre-adjacent offerings from James Blake and Perfume Genius, its seriousness doesn't grate or irritate. Milosh is a tremendously talented producer, and the sound that he hones on this record could easily be picked up by a better singer and run with. But for now the record, like the music video, feels a little bit style-over-substance.

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