Album Review: dvsn – SEPT 5th

#aotd is SEPT 5th by dvsn. This album combines the sultry, ultra-sexualised style of traditional forms of R&B with a more expansive compositional palette and Alternative-flavoured instrumentals. In the ever-crowded Alt. R&B scene, the search for fresh and engaging content is always a difficult one. One place I never expected to find it was signed to Drake’s OVO record label. Dvsn approach their style of R&B with a compositional focus, building viable sex songs around a strong and nicely flowing instrumental base. What set them apart from their contemporaries are the subtle things, the smaller songwriting touches that come with a heightened attention to detail. The opener “With Me” is a 7 minute lusty epic that feels just as much indebted to the layer building of Ambient music as it is falsetto-driven R&B with its jangly, guitar-twanged percussion and the frontman repeatedly coaxing the listener, “fuck with me now”. The frontman’s voice is a definite highlight, as he emulates the best parts of early 000’s R&B with an excellent falsetto and an effortlessly cool track presence. He’s not left to power through alone though, as the rich instrumentation and production gives him the perfect base from which to work off of. The percussion is thick, but possesses that modern Trap-esque fluidity; the frontman’s voice is mixed masterfully as it fades in and out of the foreground and there is a great variety of synth textures which help to fill out the mix. By far the best part is the constant presence of a backing choir on tracks like “Too Deep”, which give these otherwise low-key sex jams some added vibrancy. Occasionally the duo’s focus on composition-based songwriting leads to moments that drag on as the instrumentation lingers slightly too long. Luckily, the simple approach to lyricism they employ actually works more in their favour than against, giving tracks like “Do it Well” an infectious sense of charm. SEPT 5th is a gorgeous sounding R&B album which benefits from dvsn’s impeccable sonic attention to detail, their on-point vocal performance and their solid grip on the fundamentals of the genre.
Rating: 3.8/5

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