Home by Rhye Album review by Adam Fink for Northern Transmissions

Last Gang




It has long been the subject of folklore throughout time. This idea of finding the place you can call home. For the constant traveller, the more nomadic of us, it’s the safety, the comfort, a place to hang your hat and rest your weary limbs. For others it is family and friends, whether it was given to you or you made it yourself. Home is a deeply ingrained construct of the human psyche. Something that everyone is entitled to and yet for many, just out of reach. For Rhye, home was a place that existed in between bouts of touring the world.

It wasn’t a fixed address and for him it wasn’t something that wasn’t necessary for his comfort. When the Toronto born, Los Angeles based artist released his debut album, Woman, in 2013 he found himself farther and farther away from the idea of having an actual home. Rhye found his home on stages around the world. Two albums later and with a lifetime of touring under his belt, the perception he had of his nomadic lifestyle began to shift and two years ago he embarked to the mountains of Santa Monica and finally settled down. The outcome of his decision to lay down some roots is his wonderfully soothing and beautifully focused new album, aptly titled, Home.

Rhye just doesn’t throw you into his home, so much as he opens the door and lets you gently cross the threshold with the drop dead gorgeous “Intro”. Recorded with the Danish Girls Choir, Rhye has previously said he wanted the song to act as a palate cleanser, something that slowly envelops you and prepares you for what is to come, and it does this perfectly. After the song makes you feel like you have had a warm shower, rinsing off the world, we are thrust into Rhye’s splendorous take on rnb with “Come in Closer”. The first thing you will notice off the top with the staccato keyboards, is how natural and organic it all feels. By the time the drums kick in and he sings the line “Come in from the cold”, you’ll already be completely warmed up. The production throughout the album is exquisite. It’s minimal but the spaces in between the instrumentation make it seem endlessly vast. Every sound is perfectly rendered and their tones will drape over you like your favourite blanket. From here on out we are treated to the smooth strings and bouncing bass of “Beautiful”. Even though every song is perfectly arranged, the synths soothe, the drums lay just slightly back and the percussion is wonderfully placed, it would be remiss not to mention the true star of the show is Rhye’s amazing voice. It enters in and out these tracks like a dream. It is genderless and all encompassing. Don’t get the wrong idea that the album is completely without its bops. “Safeword” grooves so heavily that you won’t be able to just sit and listen to it, while “Hold You Down” hits you with some minimal funk so delicious that you’ll have no choice but dance. “Need A Lover” slows things right down with just Rhye’s glorious voice and some light guitar and synth strings and it’s a showstopper. “Black Rain” is Rhye’s take on disco, with its hard hitting four on the floor beat and an arpeggiated synth taking the place of those 70s strings until, of course, some real ones float on in.

The album comes to its conclusion with “Outro”, another track recorded with the Danish Girls Choir and it effectively allows the listener to leave Rhye’s world in the calmest, gentlest way possible. Recorded mostly at this home studio, Home, is a perfect summation of how Rhye feels at this point in his life. At his creative centre, positive and bright, just a little bit sexy but ethereal in all the right places. We’ve all been stuck in our homes for quite some time now and if you decide to let Rhye and his new album into yours, it should act as a comforting but exciting balm to these troubled times.

Order Home by Rhye HERE