Release Date: Dec 2, 2014
Record label: Stones Throw
Genre(s): Rap, R&B, Retro-Soul, Alternative R&B
It's been nearly a half decade since he first started putting out New Age-indebted drone tapes as Run DMT, and in that span Michael Collins has proved himself a pretty capable revivalist. As that project morphed from minimal, no-fi ambient work into a '60s-leaning guitar-pop act before finally settling down as a freaky folk band under the similarly punny moniker Salvia Plath, his M.O. remained the same: delve wholeheartedly into a well-trodden genre from the past and warp it with an eccentric, acid-addled approach to production and composition.
Silk Rhodes specialize in no frills grooves. The Baltimore-based duo's eponymous debut is pared down to the essentials: producer Michael Collins' warbling synths and swaggering bass lines, along with Sasha Desree's impassioned falsetto. The vocalist has an obvious reverence for yesteryear's funky soul, especially on the deliciously seductive lead single "Face 2 Face," which sounds like Rick James and Marvin Gaye going toe to toe.Unfortunately, Desree's homages sometimes sink into cringe-worthy mimicry.
This Baltimore duo -- vocalist Sasha Desree and producer Michael Collins -- made their recorded debut on the companion to the Stones Throw documentary Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton. "Face 2 Face," a plinking neo-boogie cut seemingly dusted off from a crate of private pressings found in a record warehouse abandoned 30 years prior, appeared with tracks by Mayer Hawthorne and Myron & E, Stones Throw kindred spirits. Silk Rhodes don't present themselves as clean-cut as Hawthorne, nor do they stick to a very specific era like Myron & E.