Written By: Fletcher Bonin
With her latest EP release Infrared, R&B mainstay Dawn Richard adapts her early 2000’s style to the current mainstream appeal for electronica. This is not to say, of course, that Dawn Richard has in any way sold out. Quite the contrary, in fact, if you ask me. As she continues to define her own style, Richard’s vocals remain the main attraction. With impeccable control and alluring range, her music is romantic and in many ways vividly sensual. Indeed, the album title Infrared very accurately depicts the sensation and vibe emanating from her music on this latest release. It is a music that goes through you like a heat wave, each song wrapping you in an intimate embrace.
Infrared is an immediate addition to be made to your current bedroom playlist. Dawn Richard’s ability to imbue the tracks with this inherent sensuality is, in my estimation, twofold. First, I suspect that much of her music is born of personal experience, giving an added intimacy to every song on the EP. However, the second aspect of her vocal artistry comes from a certain detachment she is somehow able to maintain despite the highly personal feel of her music. It is this detachment that gives Infrared its alluring edge. Dawn Richard is the danger we want to get too close to.
My favorite song off of the EP actually falls a little outside of Richard’s usual sultry delivery. Rather, ‘Baptize’ is slow and emotive, even verging on cathartic at moments as she harmonizes with pulsating synths. As the track title suggests, there is a faintly religious vibe surrounding this track. And yet, Richard is able to give it her characteristic spice, making it a complex and fascinating production. She sings of a romantic experience, “boy I can only fall asleep here with you, so please be forgiven let me baptize you.” It is hard to tell whether Richard is turning religion or sex on its head on this song, and this puzzle is sure to keep me playing this track on repeat.
Her certified hit ‘Paint It Blue’ is slow and haunting. The light edits increase the reverberating quality of her vocals in a way that will keep the song lingering in your headphones long after you press pause. With only four songs, Infrared will be the best fourteen minutes you’ll spend today.