Denai Moore – Modern Dread
Denai Moore’s anxiety-ridden third album comes out smack-bang in the middle of the global pandemic. Produced by Everything Everything guitarist Alex Robertshaw, Modern Dread features three singles: To the Brink, Motherless Child and the popular lead song Cascades.
It feels like a touch of city life in your ears. Whiffs of dark, packed clubs escape from the claustrophobic yearning of tracks like Too Close. Hints of intimacy arise from Motherless Child and the quiet thoughtfulness of a small café can be felt in Grapefruit on the Porch and Hail.
But what is interesting about this collection, as in all of Moore’s work, is its complexity and the music’s genre-defying nature. Modern Dread has a more textured feel than her previous work, and there is a sense of contradiction within each track that is much more imminent now. Even in the most musically calm and spiritual tracks, like Hail, there is turmoil and tension within. Moore’s silky vocals are in striking opposition to the desperation of lyrics such as “Feet grit like concrete /
I watched as it fell on me”. There is tension in her signature blend of soulful, folky vocals mixed in with RnB and gospel influences, alongside a striking move towards a more electronic pop sound, which compliments the inner-city dread of modern life with beauty.
In some ways, Modern Dread also captures the pause that coronavirus has brought to our lives, along with the restlessness and uncertainty of this period. Drama is created in between total pauses and total movement. Cascades famously ends with a swelling a cappella choir; there is complete silence behind their voices and a metallic pump of autotune in their vocals, which is overlaid by a gushing wave of gospel singing. Having said that, the vocals in this album are, overall, more contained compared to the soaring power of Elsewhere, but it works with Moore’s new sound.
Modern Dread is a wonderfully honest dive into painful experiences and the constant search for mental peace. Moore is moving in a fascinating direction with her art.
Modern Dread is released on 3rd July 2020. For further information or to order the album visit Denai Moore’s website here.
Watch the video for Cascades here: