Denai Moore goes on an introspective journey, with her latest album Modern Dread detailing self discovery and relationships. Battling demons and taking on the world are a strong theme on this album, as harmonic vocals are pitted against deep beats throughout. It is a feeling of Moore being at odds with her subconscious as she makes sense of her emotions at play.
Latest single Cascades makes for a bold feature in this album, deeper in tone than some of the songs that come before it. Through all the empowering dialogue of Too Close and the pop anthem ballad hybrid of Fake Sorry, Cascades just comes through with a punch. Particularly following the delicacy of Grapefruit, which holds a tranquil air in beautiful lyricism, setting the scene of warm moments with all the sensory imagery it creates.
“[Modern Dread] is a feeling of Moore being at odds with her subconscious, as she makes sense of her emotions at play.”
Cascades continues to showcase Moore’s lyrical powers but in a whole different tone; an overwhelming representation of depression and clouded headspace. This track talks of putting up a front and feared vulnerability in being open, yet beginning to overcome it all. Vocal isolation towards the end intensifies the feeling with lingering thoughts on those last words – “things change, things get in the way”. The waves of life wash over and at times it can be a lot to handle, but it is possible to find strength in oneself.
Earlier single To The Brink has a similar tone, but is ultimately more upfront and demanding, unapologetic even. It is as if at this point in her narrative, Moore is taking a stand, but not without emotional strain that can be felt in the strength of her vocals in this track. They are sometimes even snarling, while the bass drives this track relentlessly; fit to burst after having bottled everything up. To The Brink takes hold of everything and releases it all, but in terms of the album’s narrative, this is only halfway – there is still so much more to come.
“[Modern Dread is] a very emotional, very human journey”
As the album progresses, Moore grows more in control and stronger in herself. Paces change, vocal patterns continue to slay – whether speaking words or singing harmonies, and growth is continuous. The emotional Motherless Child shifts into Turn Off The Radio, familiar rhythms taking over vocals (and so the mind), before the two unify in the smoothest transition. This blends in to more playful beats and melodies, journeying through craving intimacy and starting anew.
Even in the face of uncertainty, the album begins to close with a sense of being at peace. Fading to calm, last track Wishing You Better embraces imperfections and continuing self discovery, albeit still showing some desire for closure. It’s a very emotional, very human journey in its narrative, yet very fun in its sound. A sweet balance of the two to make for some easy listening as well something to connect with on a deeper level.