Exclaim!'s Top 15 Soul and R&B Albums Best of 2016



10. dvsn
Sept. 5th
(OVO Sound)
 
Toronto duo dvsn deliver R&B, deconstructed. Sept. 5th is shaped for the post-Drake musical world; vocalist Daniel Daley and super-producer Nineteen85 (Paul Jeffries) represent OVO Sound with a take on soul music that's as imminently comfortable as it is purposefully urgent. The duo pace themselves nicely across 10 tracks of moody electro synths, married to empathetic, minimalist tales of love, yearning and predestination.
 
On vocals, Daley stays in the pocket, servicing Jeffries's muted percussive effects, calming harmonies and pleasing vision. The album denotes where R&B music exists in a modern age, while at the same time pulling back from the overdone ethereality the genre has obsessed over in recent years. While still maintaining a haunting vibe, the album possesses memorable, Top 40 gravity with an underground strut. dvsn let the music breathe and speak for itself, though, and it's an assertive, refined and viable voice.
Ryan B. Patrick