Cazz Blase revisits White Blush’s self-titled EP and talks to the creator, Carol Rhyu, about her work and what’s next for White Blush.
Carol Rhyu (AKA White Blush) first came to my attention a year ago when, having read my blog post about K-Pop and J-Pop, she got in touch via email about her song ‘Without You’. This gorgeous, eerie, minimal and heartbreaking song stayed with me and I’ve included it in music paste ups on the blog quite a few times. It’s the sort of song that haunts you.
Carol has continued to write and compose music, and her first self-titled White Blush EP appeared on Bandcamp in late 2012. Earlier this year, it became available to download on Spotify and Amazon in the UK and I was reminded of its sophisticated and intricate nature all over again.
The EP opens with ‘Tru Luv’, a song driven by big meaty synth beats coupled with ethereal swirling and echoing vocal layers. Rhyu’s main vocal is US every-girl, and the overall effect is substantial. ‘Mirror’ follows, and it’s a more tentative affair that begins slowly but gradually picks up pace. As the bass increases in urgency, it begins to resemble an excited heartbeat and the melody skips and weaves in and out of this urgent heartbeat as Rhyu whispers.
The most affecting, atmospheric and fully realised of the songs is ‘Jolene’, a mini masterpiece of mournful Strawberry Switchblade and Cocteau Twins tinged electro minimalism. It is has a beautiful hook, whispered chorus and moody genius coupled with assertive bass and atmospheric keyboard riffs. While ‘Jolene’ tugs insistently at the listeners’ heartstrings, the following track, ‘Wait’, the B-Side to ‘Without You’, is both simpler and emotionally rawer. It says a lot that it held its own against ‘Without You’ and, even now, it is still shattering: Rhyu sounds like a woman crying in the mist…
Head and shoulders press shot of Carol Rhyu in black, against a grey background. Taken from the White Blush website.
Video for White Blush’s ‘Juice of my heart’: a seemingly meek and mild waitress serves rude and badly behaved customers in a diner while working with a surly boss. She cleans up vomit, serves a bill to a pair of badly behaved teenagers, who throw cigarette ash and food into her hair. When her boss laughs at this last outrage, she reappears with a sword and, during some almost balletic sword sequences, chops off her bosses fingers and hands and makes the customers eat vomit before making them dance. Lots of blood goes everywhere. At the end, the waitress serves a drink to a man and smiles at him. The drink has a severed finger in it.