KUMD Album Review: Dessa

Mar 21, 2018

Credit Dessa Chime

Dessa | Chime

Doomtree member Dessa is here with her fourth album and its timing couldn’t be any better. When she’s not working on her evolving sound in New York or going back to her alma mater helping participate in neuroscience research (which helped influence the album), Dessa can be found at a local venue jamming out. The Minnesota native’s latest, Chime, blends sounds of classical orchestras, hip-hop instrumentals and soulful pop.

Album opener “Ride,” a slower-paced track compared to the rest of the piece, has Dessa singing rather than rapping to introduce us to her newest work. Going along with the album title, chimes ring out on the song along with a spacy instrumental .

“I’ve been Wendy/ Living with the Lost Boys” Dessa raps on the third track, “Fire Drills,” tackling gender roles and vocalizing her displeasures with the way women are viewed in society. “We don’t say go out and be brave... It sinks in like stilettos in soft dirt” Dessa doesn’t just sing about the injustices woman face but the social climate we’ve shaped because of it.

A gem on the album, “Good Grief,” deals with overcoming adversity and the emotional pain that comes from severed relationships. “Good grief is the one that’s in your past” Dessa sings this over a softer instrumental; the way she incorporates her rap and singing skills gives the song many layers. By the time you get to the 3:00-minute mark you’ll forget you’re listening to the same song due to its gradual shift, allowing Dessa to dabble back and forth between rapping and singing.

Although she is more casual in tone and lyrics on “Boy Crazy,” Dessa’s singing voice is doing anything but taking a break. Gradually she shows off her skill set as the song progresses. Light production again backs the graceful singer similarly in “Jumprope,” which features a more serious tone while reflecting on relationships: “Never let a broken heart keep you from the dancefloor.” Regardless of the rough period in her life, Dessa understands you still need to have fun. Additional vocals help shape an angelic sound.

Dessa features a quirky interlude, “shrimp,” backed up by some drums and funky guitar that bring a folkish feel to the song. Though the song is only 45 seconds long, you’ll have the track on repeat due to the amount she packs into the song lyrically.

Those left wanting more Dessa can check her out live, currently on the Chime: World Tour with shows going on this spring and summer. If you missed her release party in Duluth, here are some of the regional shows listed on the tour.

3/29 La Crosse, WI – Cavalier Theater3/30 – Madison, WI- Majestic Theatre4/4 – Rochester, MN – Rochester Arts Center 4/6 – Minneapolis, MN – First Ave