First Listen: DVSN x Morning After Album Review

Sensual yet sexual; DVSN allows us to see with our ears.

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For those who are new, here is some context: DVSN are a PBR&B (Alternative R&B) duo consisting of Daniel Daley (vocals & song-writing) and Nineteen85 (producer & song-writing). The duo first caught the attention of listeners when Nineteen85 played to singles on the eighth OVO Sound Radio episode. In 2016 they released their debut album Sept. 5th and now they’re back with their sophomore album which lived up to expectations, but there is still room for improvement (pun intended).

The album rollout was unconventional as the duo decided to publicise the album as a film, they posted a movie poster on their Instagram on August 10th and in an interview with PIGEONS AND PLANES explained why foreign films were the main inspiration for the visuals. They said, “To be specific, Asian, European, and Latin film all had three key things that stood out to us, that made them feel different from North American movies and TV: subtitles, color, and location… In North America, we're exposed to so many big-budget film and TV productions that we can really appreciate the raw aspect of so many films from around the world.” The visuals came to life at the end of August and beginning of September, with two trailers (1 & 2).

The standout feature of this duo is their ability to make you see with your ears, which is not easily accessible in the present day musical landscape. We’re welcomed into their world with ‘Run Away’ propelling a thick bass line with soulful, pitchy vocals from Daniel accompanied with a choir as he vents his frustrations of having to let the person he loves leave him because he’s not good for them.

There were four stand out tracks for me, firstly, ‘Don’t Choose’. Cushioned with background vocals from Isaac Hayes and PARTYNEXTDOOR, we see Daniel struggling with a broken relationship. He literally tells his lover not to choose anything else over her him because he wants to be loved, supported by Hayes’ lyrics “I love you and I want to be loved/But I just don't know how to tell you, oh no no”. In the second verse he says, “When you're in your feelings or I'm out of town/I wanna know who you got that's loving you/I wanna know if somebody made you choose”, at this point he has become paranoid. This clear storytelling is filled with relatable aspects that is destined to invoke an emotional connection for many listeners.

Whereas, ‘Mood’ consists of a sensual falsetto, roaring with an electric guitar in the background accompanied with a piano composition perfect for wannabe parents. Daniel’s ability to manipulate his voice is reminiscent of Maxwell and D’Angelo and Nineteen85’s masterful production highlights that the smallest aspects are the most notable elements. The song focuses on an aspect notable to many: lack of romance often equals an unhinged relationship; therefore, Daniel says, “Now I’m gonna make a time to make love/I’m gonna make a point to just focus on us”, understandably, he wants the relationship to last so he is willing to create time and maintain the romance in the bedroom.

Sampling Maxwell’s 1999 hit single ‘Fortunate’, ‘P.O.V’ is instantly a bedroom playlist must have. At face value the song sees Daniel simply talking about sex but Nineteen85’s outstanding production, consisting of many elements but most notably the scratched and looped Maxwell vocals and vibrant percussion helps create sufficient room for Daniel to portray his masterful falsetto orchestrating a vivid image of bedroom intimacy without having to say much: “And you know that I like those tiger stripes/Come put them stretch marks on me… I just wanna change your mood/Make you need to change your clothes”.

The title track and the most up-tempo song, ‘Morning After’ is Daniel’s attempt at making his lover stay in the morning after a night of sensuality… He says, “the world is safer when we’re both inside”, he’s reassuring his lover that, despite the problems that surround them whether they be a troubled relationship or second thoughts about Daniels, the intricacies they face shall disperse when they are together.

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As mentioned already there is room for improvement because the duo has great potential which I believe we haven’t seen yet. If Nineteen85 continues to be the remarkable prouder he is, whilst Daniel Daley explores his vocal capabilities continuously oils his refreshing storytelling dvsn is bound for superstardom.

With the release of ‘Morning After’, an enjoyable and dynamic body of work, DVSN have outdone themselves and exceeded expectations and now it’s only a matter of time before the duo receive their necessary universal praise and attention.