Denai Moore: Modern Dread

review denai moore x1 cong p17

This is a very nice album for those who like soul, pop, RnB, even trip hop. It’s so good – and this is rare praise – it puts us in mind of Little Dragon’s album of the same name (as the band, not a this). For that album at least they played cool, genre-hopping music that’s as good now as it was then. (But were very pedestrian when we saw them at Bluedot last year).

Lyrically, the Press notes say it’s an album in which she is “exorcising personal demons” while voicing her concerns for the world at large, “a daring exercise in micro versus macro that pays off richly.”

She also claims to offer a “unique” blend of quixotic beats and introspection. Songs include Don’t Close The Door, Fake Sorry, To The Brink, Motherless Child and Turn Off The Radio, which all suggest some kind of intense drama being played out inside someone’s head.

Musically, it doesn’t reflect any of that. It might not be unique – never mind Little Dragon, Prince would have something to say about that – but it’s a rich and entertaining album that hips and hops around genres, although overall it’s got a soul vibe. There’s a lot going On but it’s also intimate and she’s got a good voice; the music’s not about her voice alone and whoever programs the beats could equally claim to have defined the sound.

It’s mainly got warmth and charm, and that and the off-kilter beats appeal. Try Fake Sorry, a song about “the pressure to diminish myself in powerful spaces” but the one in which, ironically, she sounds most vulnerable and personal.

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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