When Rhye first arrived with 2013’s whisper-soft pop-R&B Woman, the Toronto singer (in conjunction with producer Robin Hannibal) did something most debut artists cannot – defined his sound on the first try. But how do you build on something already so detailed?
Rhye’s follow-up, 2018’s Blood (this time without Hannibal), while passively pleasing and studio textured, didn't quite achieve the same level of sonic satisfaction as its predecessor. Third time’s a charm for the artist also known as Michael Milosh, though. On the richly composed and produced Home, Rhye expands on his original theme by imbuing lush new elements. There are orchestral embellishments; funk-inspired basslines; sensual, Prince-like guitar solos; and dynamic beats. To layer each ingredient over one another and retain the same muted atmosphere we’ve come to closely associate with Rhye – well, that’s an impressive feat.
Drawing the listener in with a grooving, sticky thump, “Come In Closer” achieves its titular request easily, and ensures that they’ll stay for a while with Milosh’s shower-warm falsetto. Lead single “Beautiful” rolls the shag carpet out further with Barry White-inspired funk and a catchy, contemporary synth melody. Album standout “Black Rain” crescendos with a familiar blend of funk and bass overlaid with aching, swelling strings.
Even more satisfying, Home shows that Milosh is paying attention to our current music moment; even during pandemic times, legions of musicians are taking us back to the dance floor, with recent clubby releases from Dua Lipa, Kylie Minogue and Jessie Ware. But Home is no nu-disco 2020 retread – Milosh, a classically trained cellist, ensures this third release stays on brand and is true to his talents, which include an ear for luxurious string-work.
Home sounds like an invitation to a decedent, warmly lit house party where there may or may not be a jar of keys in the corner. Whether or not you’d participate in any tawdry activity, Milosh’s Home is a welcome respite from reality and a shelter to hole up in for a while.