You may have yet to hear about up-and-coming UK artist Denai Moore, but she is sure to gain buzz with her debut LP Elsewhere. With a blend of chamber pop and folk, Elsewhere is an album that highlights a great attention to detail. With stripped back tracks in which young singer-songwriter Moore explores universal themes in very mature ways, the album becomes an awe-inspiring exploration of a mesmerising soundscape.
Elsewhere comes across as a deeply emotional album in which Moore transcends the stereotypical schoolgirl lyrics that seem to have plagued pop music for decades. Moore is able to create a considerable assortment of gems within this LP that demonstrate a harmonious connection between lyrics, melody, accompaniment and overall atmosphere. While some songs seem to repeat ideas already explored within the album, this flaw is surpassed by the brilliance of particular tracks that really hit the mark.
The introductory track Piano Song reaps a lot of rhythmic momentum and genuinely universal lyrics that feel very pop friendly. Blame follows this same formula but Moore’s attention to rhythm creates diversity within these two similarly constructed songs. Moore’s vocals and harmonies are effective in creating the echoic and reverberated sound that is distinctively her own. Blame finds its own mojo with the inclusion of a guitar solo at its most climactic point. Overall, these tracks are first-time listener friendly as they familiarise the listener with her sound.
While Moore succeeds in exploring a fuller sound, she shines the brightest in her stripped back masterpiece I Swore. Moore’s vocals and harmonies paired with the resonant piano tell a brutal story of heartache, loss and regret. Eventually as the bass drum kicks in, the intensifying build up is just mesmerising to listen to as it combines with the hypnotic, repeated vocal refrains. Moore is able to cleverly take a simple idea and give it weight and meaning within her music. This track is absolute perfection. Never Gone showcases another diverse aspect of the album as we witness the interaction between Moore’s voice and a guitar arpeggio.
While the album is filled with strange paradoxes of simplicity and complexity, many songs on the album such as the track Elsewhere do fall flat. This is due to the simple fact of repetitive ideas and instrumental mood. What the songs above do best is bring new ideas into the exploration of the album’s thematic purpose. Moore’s lyrics seem to really deliver the goods when they are paired with a complex melody that accentuates her vocal range and hooks the listener. Within a few songs Moore seems to have a bit of Sia syndrome and there is some more attention needed in regards to the clarity of expression in her vocal.
Overall, the album is a shining debut by the UK artist and Moore is definitely developing and exploring her sound in the early days of her musical journey. This album has great musicality and it is rare to find such a thing in a pop debut.