Petals to Thorns

Petals to Thorns

In 2022, d4vd burst onto the alt-pop scene with “Romantic Homicide,” a concentrated dose of melancholia that blended effect-laden guitars and the teenage producer-singer's wounded croon, which expanded the vowels of its clipped, poetic lyrics in ways that maximized their impact. His subsequent viral hit, the besotted “Here With Me,” only cemented his status as a pop prodigy. On his debut EP, d4vd (pronounced David) resists the urge to stay in the lane of his first two singles, expanding his sonic palette while remaining true to his emotion-forward songwriting. “I'm doing jazz, I'm doing rock, I'm doing a lot of grunge, I'm doing a lot of R&B-esque pop,” he tells Zane Lowe. While the project is only nine songs clocking in at under a half hour, it shows how d4vd's wide-ranging musical curiosity is given a through line by his clear-eyed passion. The scruffy guitars and echoing vocals of “You and I” are the flip side of the plush “This Is How It Feels,” an old-school duet with the next-generation jazz singer Laufey that frames the two young vocalists' longing in piano arpeggios and sweeping strings. “I'd been making songs every day,” d4vd says. “It was like, if you make that much music, how do you know what fits on a project to make it cohesive? I definitely wanted to solidify a certain uniqueness. But it came together super easy. And I was like, ‘This feels like a bigger movie.’” Petals to Thorns' last track, “The Bridge,” is a smoldering guitar ballad that recalls the grunge era and the feelings-forward hard rock of the early 2000s, but with a 2023 spin. It builds and builds before cutting off abruptly, a move that d4vd likens to a cliffhanger ending that'll have listeners wondering what happens next. Petals to Thorns' brief runtime is a deliberate move by the Houston native, who's hoping to stop and fully take in each segment of his already impressive rise. “This is the testing-the-waters phase,” he says. “This is the warm-up. I don't want to give it my all just yet, because I got so much.”

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