Toronto’s dvsn—singer Daniel Daley and producer Nineteen85—makes music that should come with a warning sign: To hit play is to risk texting an ex or drowning in a pool of emotions you didn't even know you had. Reverently channeling '90s R&B, their slinking songs of fumbled relationships, heavy with sexual tension, double as meditations on toxicity—a hall of mirrors for those to whom love doesn't come easy. This has been their way since their 2016 debut, SEPT. 5TH, and A Muse in Her Feelings is no exception. Songs like the heartrending opener “No Good” and the stunning “For Us” are peak dvsn, all naked sentimentality heightened by lush throwback melodies. Nostalgia, as on the Usher-sampling, regret-fueled single "Between Us," is their not-so-secret weapon, and they shrewdly wield it in both emotion and sound.
Here, though, they open up their sonic palette (as on the dancehall-inspired “So What” or the pulsing club music of “Keep It Going”) and, for the first time, get a handy lift from outside collaborators—among them, their OVO labelmate PARTYNEXTDOOR, the Jamaican stars Buju Banton and Popcaan, and the equally unyielding singer Summer Walker. In addition to giving the album an element of dialogue, such moments provide opportunities for the pair to explicitly fold in their own West Indian backgrounds and place them against backdrops that contrast with their usual aura. It's an evolution that suggests dvsn may be eyeing markets outside of their moodier wheelhouse; one-trick ponies they are not.