When you find something wonderful, you notice all the beauty it contains.
Consisting of Daniel Daley and producer Paul Jefferies (Nineteen85), DVSN (pronounced Division) established themselves as the cutting edge of millennial soul music by taking a small set of sounds and stretching them as far as possible.
Their debut album, SEPT 5TH uses contemporary sounds to explore the provocative and meaningful aspects of carnality. SEPT 5TH was not designed to support showmanship but instead, bring together Daley’s gifted sound and Jefferies’ distant piano and muted drum beats to create a sound like no other.
“With Me,” the album’s best track and arguably the best R&B track released since Frank Ocean’s 2012 “Thinking About You,” is breathtaking smooth. Daley’s vocals are gorgeous, breathy when they want to be and powerful when they don’t. Jefferies’ production is lush but minimal, using drum pads and distant, airy synths to create beautiful spaces for Daley to work in. The album’s aesthetic has clearly been thought through and made a focus of this album. In the album’s “Try/Effortless,” Daley’s sudden shift to a higher register compliment the woozy synths at the song’s back end. Daley’s mature delivery can be heard on “Hallucinations,” in which his falsetto is screwed down with effects to halt embellishments and offer more breathing room.
This grown up musical strategy is reflected in the way DVSN approach their songwriting. This is not corny music, but respectful and sometimes sweet. It treats sex as a serious act – something that makes you see things that aren’t there, a balm for life’s rough edges and something that can make you realize the worth of looking beyond yourself.
Every single song is consensual in every sense of the word. SEPT 5TH can be read as a romantic guide for people who are staring their twenties down in the rear-view mirror and considering investing a huge chunk of themselves in another person. DVSN is wise to dial into the silence between the noise. This is what confidence sounds like.