on pink vinyl - With the R&B project known as Rhye, Toronto-born Michael Milosh has enjoyed a level of success, even after the mystique and mystery around the 2013 debut offering, Woman, has since dissipated. Blood, in 2018, further explored the parameters of a chamber pop-soul aesthetic and the eight-track Spirit finds Milosh in a mellow, piano-oriented groove.
The album's origins came from tooling around on an old baby grand piano, a morning practice that inspired Milosh to tap into his foundation in classical music, through the lens of alternative R&B. Frequent collaborator Thomas "Doveman" Bartlett is on hand, and Rhye is joined by songwriter Dan Wilson (of Semisonic fame) to deliver a more analogue sound compared to previous Rhye outings. The end result is an organic offering, one that leans on the electric foundation that Rhye are known for.
"Dark" sets the scene and classical sound to come. "Needed" is trademark Rhye — haunting, soulful, orchestral — that revels in its lightly libertine appeal, by way of classical keys. "Patience" featuring Icelandic musician Ólafur Arnalds is stridently soulful and ethereal, while "Save Me" quietly and expertly melds piano with Milosh's falsetto with his penchant for strings arrangement.
Spirit is a satisfying addition to Rhye's growing discography. While the mystery is long gone when it comes to what and who Rhye are and stand for, the passion and striving for genreless perfection remains