Sunday, February 4, 2018

dvsn - Morning After Review

Nothing more than a coincidence, when Kelela's Take Me Apart released my only interpretation of the glorious closer 'Altadena' was that of the morning after. After a long, sweaty night of passionate lovemaking, with beating hearts and rocking beds setting the mood, 'Altadena' counteracted the intensity with the warm, hospitable glow of sunrise; two lovers still intertwined. That conflictingly set dvsn up to expand upon what Morning After means. Unfortunately, expectations weren't met. Within both that impracticable parameter, and the one that was inevitably set following dvsn's mysterious Sept 5th. That lurking and mischievous, yet lush and gleaming debut poised itself as a stalwart Alternative R&B rocker, ripe with a Gospel edge that sent intimate harmonies to the stratosphere. Morning After peels that unique flavor away, resulting in a project that's littered with uneventful fodder and baseline trends. The mystery of dvsn has all but vanished, and why? Because there's nothing remotely cryptic or curious about Morning After.

The writing was on the wall, although I teetered months before accepting it. The four lead singles, which, by the way, appear back-to-back-to-back-to-back on the LP, failed to incite the curiosity, excitement, or greatness needed to gain momentum leading into Morning After. Compare that with Sept 5th, an album's which four greatest songs ('The Line,' 'With Me,' 'Too Deep,' 'Hallucinations') appeared as standalone's beforehand, and it's easy to see, in hindsight, why dvsn's return to the spotlight wouldn't be so bright. For those anticipating more of the glorious, choir-based highs tracks like 'The Line' and 'Too Deep' mounted, prepare to be disappointed. In something that could only be seen as an unnecessary tease, the only moment of prominent Gospel comes in the last thirty seconds of 'Conversations In A Diner.' Which, for those unaware, is the last track. Predictably, that's one of Morning After's brightest spots, and one that actually continues the concept forced by me wherein Kelela's Take Me Apart goes from the bedroom to breakfast, dvsn's Morning After goes from breakfast to lunch.

Excluding the four lead singles, of which I've written write-ups for in various loosies ('Think About Me,' 'Don't Choose,' 'Mood,' 'P.O.V.'), Morning After's deep cuts don't offer much to sway the tide. Apart from sounding more apt on a Drake album, 'Keep Calm' successfully balances the wire between Alternative R&B and Trap. It's a flimsy wire, and one that's built on the backs of a trove of current trend-hoppers, but the slight inclusion of a repeated vocal sample helps to give 'Keep Away' some potency. 'Claim,' while offering nothing unique in terms of production value and straying awfully close to being male chauvinistic, actually sports a credible hook that's both intoxicating and elaborate. Lastly, 'Morning After' stands out for being the only track to do so. Led by an acoustic guitar, claps, and foot-stomping, the title track eagerly prances about with an energy that's not present anywhere else. It works. But not within the context of the album. An album that, apart from the aforementioned tracks, has little of interest for those seeking ingenuity in R&B. 'You Do,' 'Can't Wait,' 'Body Smile' just some songs that'll be lost in the wave of mundanity.


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