DVSN represent another addition to the talented and growing number of Canadian artists bringing contemporary music while capturing the current musical mood with unnerving accuracy. Five to maybe ten years ago Canadian ‘urban’ artists were rare like a rich man not avoiding paying full taxes (pay up you skinflint dogs) but of course Drake as one of the biggest catalysts has invigorated a wave of acts.
‘Sept 5th’, released on Drake’s OVO label is ostensibly an R&B album that flirts suggestively with; old skool 90s rnb, elements of 70’s soul while delving with purpose into contemporary/alternative R&B made famous by names like; Frank Ocean and The Weeknd.
Produced by Paul Jeffries aka 1985 (a clear product of 90s vibes) we witness the creative energies of a great producer. Conjuring a masterful balance between these different eras, the result is a debut album of sustained quality, appealing to an old and new generation of rnb lovers.
Released with no fanfare of even a hint of a press release, fans were indulged with prior singles all drip fed exclusively on Apple Music via the OVO Sound Radio Show. Those releases dutifully had us gasping for more – my personal favourite single out of the four was ‘Hallucinations’ – atmospheric and seriously addictive listening. But what ‘5th Sept’ the album evidently does is take us on a time warp like journey through the aforementioned genres – so it’s more than just a collection of roughly put together tracks.
‘Too Deep‘ epitomises that time warp like ability to transport listeners, as we are shuttled to that heyday of 90s rnb. The track reminded me of great acts like; Total, R Kelly (then) and of course Aaliyah and that brill track ‘Rock The Boat’ (2002); wispy on point harmonising with that slow jam tempo-delectable. ‘Another One’ in turn takes us to the 80’s with that electro vibe minus jheri curl juice all over a smooth dance floor. ‘Angela’ takes us even further back – 70’s and slow jams gel to produce something that could have Otis Redding and R Kelly belting out a powerful chorus expressing the loss of a loved one.
Of course in this juncture our vocal protagonist is Daniel Dailey bringing the totality of raw emotions bursting through this 10 track body of work. In truth Dailey always seems on the verge of deliberate self-harm as he recounts with raw intensity the differing emotional spectrums that boil over within relationships; love, yearning love, questions of self-worth, desire, rejection, sexual raw desire, hopes of make-up sex and yet more love.
The editor said to me before presenting me with this album ‘I’d love to know your thoughts on this album post your article on Maxwell’. Well while Maxwell delved into issues of love in a more sanitised way (but still smouldering with sexual energy standpoint), this album looks at the more gritty aspects of love and even delves into that love which can be a little more destructive leading to late night drunk calls to an ex with the immortal words, ‘I can’t live without you’ [response] – ‘then die’!
‘5th Sept’ is a tidy album with some great cuts and as debuts go – I like it – Nineteen85 as always creates tracks that can generally be described as hot! With that debut out of the way all they have to do is make their sophomore project even better – (of course no easy task!).
We highly recommend you give this more than a little time, there’s no in + out type of way to listen to DVSN, just go in too deep.
Download it on iTunes now, or if you’re a streamer, do your thing over at Tidal, Spotify or Apple Music.