Namarah | photo by Liv | livwiththelens.com | via facebook.com/NamarahOfficial
Namarah’s Deia showcases a bold artistic vision
On Namarah’s debut album, Deia, the Philly singer/songwriter emerges as a fearless artist, unafraid to take bold risks. While Namarah is in top form on the more innovative tracks, the entirety of Deia represents a bright future for the fledgling artist, running the gamut from experimental neo-soul to more traditional R&B and soul-influenced cuts.
The best tracks from Deia are those where Namarah is unafraid to push boundaries and experiment with off-kilter production. Namarah’s influences are wide-ranging — her website describes her music as “rock, R&B, pop, gospel, and hip-hop” — and Deia displays a mastery of each of these sounds. “Kollektive” is propelled by a thick bassline set against glitchy beats and distorted synths. Clearly inspired by artists like Kelela and FKA twigs, this track is an edgy amalgamation of R&B, electronica, and trip-hop.
On the other hand, “Fishtank” is a jazzy, soul-forward track, with a vibe that shines as brightly as “Kollektive” glows darkly. The trap-inspired drums have a distinctly swung feel, and the church organ and keyboard-led harmonies create a head-bumping neo-soul groove. Sonically, these two tracks are at opposite ends of the spectrum: “Kollektive” is brooding and dark, while “Fishtank” is soulful and inspiring, yet both tracks are unique and belong distinctly to Namarah.
The clear standout from Deia, “Mine,” is is dark and hypnotic, spiritual and sensual, and sounds like nothing else, on the album or otherwise. The song opens with a narration about Genesis over sparse instrumentation, before morphing into a darkly sensual ballad: Namarah sighs in the background, mbira plucks patter softly, strings and gentle drums create a lilting groove. The setting is ethereal and dreamlike, before Namarah’s powerful alto jolts the mix back to reality.
A handful of collaborators hop on Deia to assist Namarah, too. “Supernova” features Brasstracks, the Brooklyn-based pop-soul duo, who’s distinctive, trumpet-forward arrangements provide unparalleled warmth to the funky track. Dan Goode and Sanovia— with whom Namarah dropped “Keep On” in June — also make appearances on a few tracks, including album closer “Hear.”
Listen to Namarah’s Deia below.