April 3, 2012


You Need to Know: Cryptic Soul/Funk Duo Rhye

Every Tuesday, You Need to Know spotlights a rising artist that we know will blow up big. Listen now. Thank us later. This week: Enigmatic soul duo Rhye.

In an era of oversharing and constant need for "Look at me!" attention, it was European/Canadian duo Rhye's desire to not overexpose themselves that first intrigued me. Of course, being mysterious—the group doesn't do press and yep, that's their official promo photo above—may be its own gimmick, but given the strength of the group's debut EP, a three-song teaser recently released on Innovative Leisure, they're allowed to be as cryptic or open as they want.

Mystery aside, we do know a few facts about the group: Rhye is a collaboration between Canadian electronic producer/vocalist/cellist Mike Milosh and Robin Hannibal, the brainchild behind Danish soul-pop group/Adele's favorite band Quadron. You're forgiven for mistaking Milosh's falsetto for female vocals on lead single "Open," an evocative piece of bedroom funk that could soundtrack both getting the girl and losing her. Think a funkier, string-laden version of Bon Iver as produced by James Blake. (Song below, but there's a highly NSFW official video if that's your thing.)  Music supervisors: This has to be playing during your next indie sex scene. No excuses.

Elsewhere, the uptempo "Hunger" is Bad Girls-era Donna Summer meets the slap bass of early-1980s Prince/Morris Day and the Time, while "3 Days" floats along a bouncy, lite-funk rhythm as fronted by Everything But the Girl's Tracey Thorn. Yes, each one of the three songs—all distinct—has been on repeat on the iPod.

Who are Rhye? Who cares. Backstory's important but without quality tracks, it's irrelevant. Absorb the music first and worry about its creators later. 

Rhye - "Open"