SEPT. 5TH – dvsn (OVO Sound)
dvsn are a Canadian R&B duo who are signed to Drake’s OVO Sound label, and their debut album delivers precisely what you would expect, a mellow and stylistic production that is becoming the hallmark of OVO artists.
The duo is comprised of vocalist Daniel Daley and producer Nineteen85, one of the OVO imprint’s in-house producers. Nineteen85 is the producer behind the Drake hits Hold on, We’re Going Home and Hotline Bling, and his distinctive production drives SEPT 5TH forward with verve, all velvety bass and rolling trap-snares peppered by the haunted and mellow Daley and punctuated in places by airy, melodic synths. Where Nineteen85’s production is subtle, even understated in places, Daley’s voice perfectly complements the production, and blends with the tracks, with each musician given the space they need to shine.
A nine track affair, SEPT. 5TH opens with the melancholy With Me oozing, gentle, an old school R&B roller of a track which sets the tone for the album. The title track comes half-way through the album, a weak point which feels cheesy and cringeworthy, but it quickly recovers with Hallucinations, a comedown track which might be the real masterpiece of the work.
This isn’t an album full of club music – though a few of the tracks (Try/Effortless, with its smooth bass lines, springs to mind) have chart potential – but instead more of an artistic piece, a showcase of what each member is capable of, coming as it does relatively late in both their careers (each artist is 30, somewhat over-the-hill in recording terms). The record has a genuine ebb-and-flow, progressing smoothly, with the final track, The Line, an emotional goodbye to the listener, all echo and snare, the emotive vocals punching high notes in sharp contrast with the sparse sonic landscape.
On the face of it, SEPT. 5TH is a standalone work from an experienced duo who have been in the game for some time with varying degrees of success. That’s half true, but the album is also a testament to the growing collective of artists coming out of Canada. Drake’s influence on the scene is hard to underestimate, but dvsn offer a distinctly separate sound, moving towards a more emotive and uplifting kind of R&B, setting the tone for themselves – and maybe the rest of Canada, too. This is a solid body of work and, hopefully, it stands as a sign of things to come.