By Brian Lucear
Take the vibe of 90s R&B and add a dark and mysterious aesthetic and a slight dash of modern trap production and you get Sept 5, the debut album of OVO’s latest signees DVSN. Pronounced “division”, the duo consists of producer Nineteen85 and falsetto crooner Daniel Daley. The ten track album was released April 1, 2016.
The album’s intro “With Me” is a welcome into the vibe that is to follow in the rest of the album as “With Me” flows effortlessly into the double entendre heavy “Too Deep”. For the first few tracks the lyrical topics are fairly limited – mostly lyrics related to sex. The album hits its first real thematic strong point with “Hallucinations”, as Daley sings out the pain of reminiscing over a past relationship:
I’m losing sleep every night
Keep trying to cover my eyes
Is it my imagination?
I think I’m losing my mind
Still see your face all the time
All the time”
Where the album falls short in some songs is actually its strong points in others. DVSN’s production at times can either feel like too much or not enough.
Some songs, like “Hallucinations”, hit their target with gloomy atmospheric beats. “Angela” does a great job of deviating from the sound of the rest of the album due to its use of classic piano, strings, and drums. But other songs often feel like they rely too heavily on trap drums to appease to the latest sound. Due to this, the four songs between “Too Deep” and “Hallucinations” start to sound a little too similar. They’re not bad, they just almost sound like one long song.
The album’s closer “The Line” ends the album with a big punch thematically and sonically. Nineteen85’s bass thumps at the right moments as Daley’s vocals perfectly compliment the theme of trust and vulnerability within a committed relationship:
“Tell me if I doubt you I’m wrong for it, I’m wrong for it
If anybody’s in my corner, it’s you
I wanna know, I wanna know, I wanna know
That nobody, no face could take you away
‘Cause there’s a life to this thing we got
There’s a life to the things we do
To tell the truth, I only want you, baby”
“The Line” is possibly the strongest track on the album, and it’s a 7 minute, feelings-inducing gut punch. Listeners are left with a haunting delivery of the album’s closing lyrics: “At the end of it all, I’m coming back to you…”
It seems easy for DVSN to get lost in the shadows of their OVO cohorts. After all, they’re not the labels’ biggest name (Drake, of course) and they don’t have two projects under their belts like PartyNextDoor. There are no features on Sept. 5 (not even Mr. OVO himself), allowing the duo to have the spotlight. This group has promising potential and for a debut album it is solid. There’s plenty of room to grow for these two and it’ll be interesting to see how they progress in the future.
In addition to Sept 5, DVSN’s mix of Aaliyah’s “One in a Million” and Prince’s “Purple Rain” is also worth a listen, as well as their “Let’s Get It On” cover tribute to Marvin Gaye.