Earlier this year, Mike Milosh released Blood, his sophomore album under the moniker of Rhye. It was the long-awaited follow-up to the project’s 2013 debut Woman, and immediately announced itself as another collection of ghostly indie-R&B by way of several advance singles unveiled steadily through the final stretch of 2017. Chances are it will be awhile before there’s a substantial amount of new Rhye music once more, but in the meantime Milosh & co. stopped by the Spotify Singles series to play “Taste” and cover Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade Of Pale.”
Considering the crowded legacy of the ’60s, Procol Harum’s name recognition has often been reduced to the strangeness of their own name, and “A Whiter Shade Of Pale,” their 1967 debut single. The British band found quick success with the track, an idiosyncratic composition that melded a classical-indebted/church-esque organ melody with mournful blues-rock vocals. It has remained fairly ubiquitous in the 51 years since its release, a hyper-recognizable ’60s classic that’s never too far from a sync in a movie or elsewhere.
Despite its obvious ’60s trappings, “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” has partially endured thanks to the way in which that organ/vocal contrast feels almost out of time, or at least timeless. Now several years removed from the “hipster R&B” micro-trend they could’ve once been lumped into, Rhye’s ethereal and elusive blend of gentle electronics and wispy soul feels similarly out of time, so perhaps the choice of covering “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” is an appropriate one. This version exists solidly in Rhye’s world, Milosh whispering and cooing his way through as usual, strings taking over that iconic organ line for part of the song. There’s probably a joke to be made about a slick LA indie-R&B band covering a song called “A Whiter Shade Of Pale,” but if you are into the specific charms of Rhye’s music you’ll probably like this, too. You can check out Rhye’s cover and revisit Procol Harum’s original below.
Blood is out now via Loma Vista.