After the release of their critically acclaimed debut album SEPT 5TH, Toronto duo dvsn (pronounced “division”) returns with their sophomore album, Morning After. Fresh off their tour with Drake, producer Nineteen85 and vocalist Daniel Daley continue their distinct sound: Combining melisma R&B vocals with production echoing ‘90s neo-soul artists. They released four singles ahead of the album, accompanied by visuals reminiscent of the Cuban film Una Noche (2012). Specifically, the Morning After trailer features nightfall in Cuba, with dvsn album playing in the background.
The booming basslines blend with violins, acoustic guitars, and several background vocals, notably in the track, “P.O.V.” and the title track, “Morning After.” In contrast, the album also features more brooding tracks, including “You Do,” and “Don’t Choose,” where Daley croons over a mystery lover over nostalgic Maxwell samples. Morning After deviates from their last album’s preoccupation with lust and pain, focusing more on love and forgiveness.
Prior to their first album, the duo was rather elusive, releasing only a couple singles followed by a one-time performance at SXSW early in 2016. With their second album, Daley and Nineteen85 emerge from the shadows, set on establishing their own path within the OVO group. The two met early in 2007 when Daniel Daley started to experiment with singing, both later becoming close with the OVO circle of musicians and producers.
Now signed to Drake’s record label, OVO Sound, they join an impressive roster, including The Weeknd, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Majid Jordan, and Roy Woods. Nineteen85 is also responsible for producing successful singles such as “Hotline Bling” and “One Dance,” leading him to a Grammy nomination.
Morning After moves towards a level of abstraction, departing from the group’s traditional roots. A listener familiar with dvsn’s debut album will notice a more well-rounded composition in its follow-up. As well, the overall sound is polished compared to the mixtape-inclined debut. To those just discovering dvsn, Morning After exhibits a distinct sonic maturity in nature, through its use of experimental, cinematic beats, layered with falsetto vocals, and lyrics that are relatable without compromising nuance.