Sept. 5th is a sensual collection of heart-wrenching confessions and contemporary minimalistic sounds that come together to form an interestingly provocative and intriguing debut album. dvsn wears its sexuality proudly, as it oozes and seeps through every song, unexpectedly producing a somewhat numb, hazy and subjective listening experience.
The Toronto hailed group, dvsn (pronounced Division) recently signed with Drake’s OVO Sound record label, joining current label mates; PartyNextDoor, Majid Jordan, ILoveMakonnen, among others. Wondering why you haven’t heard of them? Well, up until sometime earlier this year, the identity of the group had been unknown. It was only recently revealed that the faces behind the music were Drake’s long-time producer, Paul Jefferies (Nineteen 85), the man behind “Hotline Bling” & other Drizzy hits, and singer Daniel Daley. You might have heard them on the track “Faithful”, which appears on Drake’s Views album.
The mysterious R&B group’s first effort is a mixture of late night R&B and neon-lit production. The opening act “With Me” pretty much sets the tone for the album.
Fuck with me now
Daley sings, almost pleading, to be taken seriously, repeatedly. The 7 minute long performance is undoubtedly one of the strongest efforts from the long play, as it lures you into the music; intoxicating and trancelike.
In “Too Deep” and “In + Out”, we get to understand the importance of sex to dvsn. We are also vaguely introduced to the woman (or women) that dvsn is singing to. In fact, both songs are like two sides of the same coin. They both reiterate, in the most vivid way imaginable, the same thing; intimacy with this woman. In “Too Deep”, Daley sings from both sides, as his woman begging him not to pull out, and as himself, reaffirming her that he won’t.
What surprises here, and what perhaps makes this album, is not what was being said, but how it was being said. The album’s mature content is so raw and evident, but at the same time so polished and subtle, that you’re almost unaware of it. Dvsn tries to make its way into your mind by leading you to focus on the sound rather than on the lyrics of the songs, which can be attributed to Nineteen 85’s unique production and the sultriness of Daley’s vocal performance.
“Try/Effortless” sees dvsn moving out of their comfort zone, with Daley struggling with the idea of commitment, “cause you’re the first to make me, try”.
dvsn doesn’t just perceive sex to be transactional or recreational, but views it as a serious act, which becomes more evident as Daley sings, “you are my therapy…” in “Do It Well” and “having hallucinations, I’m losing sleep every night…” in “Hallucinations”; suggesting the grave effects sexual encounters have on him.
The album comes to a close with “The Line”, where Daley seems to have found love, “I’m falling, falling hard for you”, he sings. The 7 minute finale, completes the process started by its counterpart, by slowly (very slowly) easing you out of the trance you unconsciously slipped into at the beginning.
At the end of it all, I’m coming back to you. There’s no one else…
Those are the last words of the album, which means that his sexual notoriety has made him realise that at the end of it all, commitment is all that matters.
It’s that time of the year again and the nominees for the 2017 Grammy awards have just been released, and it doesn’t come as a surprise that the R&B duo weren’t nominated for an award, considering the elusive nature of their existence and more-so, this project; a trait that has since become associated with many up and coming Toronto based artists. Which comes as a disappointment, as their debut is probably one of the best but most underrated albums of the year.
Regardless, Sept. 5th is a breath of fresh air to the R&B genre, which has prior to now been suffocated by the same sounds and lyrics by the same artists; for example, Trey Songz, who was only finally able to break out of the cycle with his most recent album. dvsn, along with other artist’s taking similar strides in the industry; Bryson Tiller, Miguel, The Internet, SZA, have put a spin on classic R&B and made it their own; unlike some of their other counterparts, who have chosen a mixed pop and urban approach to the genre; Rayven Justice, Tory Lanez, Ty Dolla $ign, The Weeknd.
So yes, dvsn, I do fuck with you.
Uncommon neon lit production by Nineteen85
Sultry performance by Daley
The theme becomes tiring after a while