Published on November 30th, 2019

Rhye is an indie pop and r&b collective started and fronted by Canadian musician Michael Milosh, originally in conjunction with Robin Hannibal. Hannibal was a member of the Danish duo Quadron and became aware of Milosh through mutual friends at a record label they shared.

The collaboration eventually fizzled, but Milosh has continued with Rhye as an open collective of alternating musicians. One of them is Dan Wilson, formerly of Semisonic — anyone out there remember “Closing Time?” Wilson shares co-writing credit for “Needed,” the first single off of Rhye’s new album, “Spirit.” This incarnation also has input from Icelandic musician Ólafur Arnalds and Thomas Bartlett, aka Doveman.

Rhye used to make a game of keeping band member identities a secret, even selling a poster on a 2014 Boston show with cryptic text in Wingdings that read “Who is Rhye. Edward Bernays.”

Bernays is considered the father of modern public relations. There is thankfully less of him and more Maxwell and Phoenix in Rhye’s cool, composed danceability. Milosh’s sighing contralto voice also draws comparisons to Sade. The “Spirit” album for which Milosh is touring is something of a departure: eight tracks of almost isolated voice and piano. The project was sparked by Milosh’s girlfriend surprising him with a borrowed piano. The instrument made him want to explore, in his words, “the subtle magic of gentle moments.”

He also stepped out from behind the keyboard to choreograph and shoot a twilit, sculptural video featuring dancers for “Needed,” a song of yearning with a hushed beat and expressive touches of the keys as Milosh pleads in a high-pitched whisper. Milosh has called the “Needed” video “a visual expression of the lyric.”

“I took a fly-on-the-wall approach with each of the dancers and actors as they each had their own experience with the music,” he said. “I just asked them to let go. It was an honor to witness these artists be so vulnerable and trusting, to capture these intimate moments that moved within each of them.”

The whole album is a lush treatise on secrets of the heart, with lilting melodies to paint its portraits of intimacy. Who doesn’t love that?

POPLIFE present Rhye at 6pm Thursday December 5 at  the North Beach Bandshell in Miami Beach. rhyemusic.com ~ Tim Moffatt

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