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Lies And Lullabies,
This review is from: Woman (Audio CD)
It arrives cloaked in enigma and ambiguity, yet you only need a couple of listens to be sure: come December, this will be among the best debut albums of the year.
A Canadian / Danish duo (Mike Milosh / Robert Braun), Rhye offer a gliding take on blue-eyed pop-soul with bossa nove, Bacharach and disco leanings. It will leave you deeply entranced and rather surprised.
"Woman" is impeccably produced and arranged, strings and brass stylishly embroidering glinting, mostly mid-tempo opal-smooth beats. Think the Chic-Steely Dan-Avalon Roxy Bermuda Triangle: are you ready to disappear in there?
Yet all of this would be (nearly) nothing if two further elements would not add an extra twist to the tale of this minimally sleeved record.
Firstly, the lyrics are not typical. Given the musical ingredients, you would expect some schmaltzy gibberish about how your baby is the sunshine of your life and so on and so forth. Not here: the lyrics are indeed about love and sez, but they deploy laconic, effective imagery to convey their transience, implicit disappointment and not so metaphorical cannibalistic nature. The wordanto "3 Days" andf unger" are apt examples of this; when coupled with their elegant backings, they produce an off-beat mix of chic-driven cruelty.
And soon it becomes clear: the whole album is about love's corruption and man's fall from it, a pessimistic parable that very much resemnles life itself. If it sounds too depressing, never mind; the music will soothe all of your hurt.
The music, of course, AND the voice. Mike Milosh is apparently the singer on this project, yet what you hear is so utterly Other that it seems impossible that the owner of this instrument should be burdened by a detail as trivial as gender. Anyway, the quavering iridescence of this voice becomes the perfect glue that holds the hazy obsession of the music together. It is compelling, addictive and really pure in its sense of decay. It is also the best new voice so far this year.
"Woman" is a round white pebble on the river bank of tour memory. Pick it up, caress it slowly; it will tell you lies and lullabies that you thought you had forgotten. From that moment on, they will stay with you forever.