By most accounts, R&B music has had a refresh for a while now. While modern touches have graced the genre in recent years, it hasn’t had an update since the nineties as far as genres go. Enter Chicago’s DRAMA. The duo not only updates what you think about R&B, but they add their own twist while reinventing its approach as well. On their new full length Dance Without Me they give the genre the shot in the arm it’s needed for a while.
The way the music is different is how it gets structured or written. The songs have all of the swagger that R&B contains, but with more energy in the music itself. With the haunting vocals and the dance pop backing notes, the duo has no problem mixing things up here. Opening track “7:04 A.M.” is a piano based song that gets the album going while keeping things close to the chest. The underpinned beat and synths pair perfectly with the soft vocals and stripped back pacing. But the album is full of upbeat and catchy bangers as well. Songs like “Forever and a Day,” “Gimme Gimme” and “Days and Days” all have this pop sheen that makes them glisten as you groove.
However it’s the balance between tender tones and pop dance tracks here that showcase the group’s power. “Hold On” has the glimmer or dance pop intertwined with a groove oriented R&B base. This results in a sound that’s like the new rhythm and blues. On “Nine One One,” the duo takes a more orchestral approach, but doesn’t lose their pop edge in the process. The album is a mixture of these two worlds, navigated perfectly like a surgeon performing a life saving procedure. DRAMA is what R&B can be if you imagine it, or if you take the time to check them out.
Dance Without Me can be purchased physically directly from Ghostly International. It’s ready to stream on all streaming sites or to purchase digitally in all online music outlets. DRAMA is on tour beginning February 26 at Valley Bar in Phoenix, AZ until May 02 at Barracuda in Austin, TX. Their complete tour routing is located here.
Image Credits: Photo by Zoe Rain.