ALBUM PREMIERE: DAVIA SPAIN “DAWNING”
It’s tempting to call Davia Spain enigmatic—to call her lush, rhapsodic space-opera “otherworldly”—but that’s flat wrong. These songs are more visceral and human than any, plaintive lyrics and lovely rubato melodies laid over music that sounds like the Earth itself.
What is the pastoral “Finale” if not a murder of crows overseeing the end of the world, a haunting lament giving way to a new dawn? Spain’s vocal work is exquisite here, an upper register lilt flipping effortlessly between head, chest and mix, each voice threatening to break into the other, yearning and urgent. The ending is hummingbirds flying at dusk. “Surrender” is water in the desert: dark, wobbling synths punctuated by an ominous ostinato. She sings here about relinquishing control to find a new self—surrendering, if you will, to the fates to be born anew. If that ain’t relatable content …
The EP’s artwork is Earth in fragments spinning around her torso, Pangea torn asunder by unstoppable realities. And there are many hard realities explored here. Nothing released so far this year is as forthright as the stripped-down and somber “Hello,” a song that first sounds like a plea to mission control, but eventually turns into a story of life rended and rendered: “I tried to say goodbye / I wanted to die / but someone out there / told me to stay right here.”
There are no lyrics more human than those. Spain—with assists from fantastic musicians Mx. Matias, Bapari, Amanda Yamate and more—uses space and breath and bombast in such a way that each word of these songs is featured, emphasized, heightened. Humans deserve to hear this music, no matter how much space is between us at the moment.