Music is all about moods, and every once in a while we all crave some deep, melancholy beats and raw lyrics when we're feeling particularly introspective. Producer and vocalist Rhi is here to satiate that need with her new album The Pale Queen, out now on Tru Thoughts. The project follows the London-based Canadian's debut LP Reverie from 2017 and presents a continuation in the development of her soulfully dour sonic aesthetic that radiates emotional honesty amid thumping grooves.
Rhi, A.K.A. Rhiannon Bouvier, describes The Pale Queen as a way to call out the disingenuous people among us. She begins with a look in the mirror on the opener "Plain Jane," where she offers a refreshing self-evaluation with words like, "I'm a grunger, grunger, grunger babe / I'm a natural, natural, natural lady." Her ethereal vocals float through the dreamy blend of warbling chords and pulsing bass notes to spellbinding effect. Later on "Swagger," she shifts to the second person to examine the connection, or lack thereof, between one's outward appearance and their true nature. In the stunning, understated hooks she writes, "Do you live up to your game, brand names, tats, and chains / tell me something that matters / does your mind match the swagger?"
Elsewhere, Rhi gives her take on lust and romance with the captivating track "Mesmerized." The song stands out for its subject matter as well as its gently increased tempo and splashy drums that will certainly get listener's heads nodding along. The bump in momentum pairs with Rhi's subtle use of syncopation and unique take on attraction for an irresistible vibe, making the track a gem of the set.
For the days when we need to slow things down and lean into reflection, the irresistible grooves and stellar musicianship on Rhi's The Pale Queen provide the ideal soundtrack.
The Pale Queen is available to stream or download here.