Bad days – we all have them, they’re a fact of life. And the chances are, since you’re reading an EP review on a music blog, that more often than not music is your refuge when the world is against you. Some look to the skullcrushing breakbeats of the Dillinger Escape Plan to batter their bad day into submission, while others let the Chris Martins of this world help them ride it out with a dose of melancholia. But wouldn’t you rather have a sonic embrace take hold of you and tell you that everything is going to be okay? That’s where Dee Sada comes in and, for the record, this is probably the last time you will see her name mentioned anywhere near the Dillinger Escape Plan ever again.
Sada’s four-song ‘Fragments EP’ is a masterclass in soft, comforting music of a kind which might seem unadventurous until you really put your mind to thinking of something to compare it to. The best I could do was to identify shades of the xx, but such is the meditative nature of Sada’s songs that it almost makes that of Jamie and his cohorts seem as boisterous as his exertions behind the decks in a solo capacity. Sada comes closest to the Mercury Music Prize-winning band on ‘Bells and Ships and Songs’, where a sparse arrangement and minimalist production combines with her impossibly gentle voice to create a song as pure and relaxing as a lullaby; at times, you aren’t so much listening as absorbing, a really beautiful experience even if this sort of music is beyond your usual listening habits.
Elsewhere, ‘The Birthday’ takes the time-honoured folk template of a lone woman with her guitar and transforms it into something entirely more ethereal, enveloping the listener with the hypnotic qualities of Sada’s genuinely unique voice. ‘In The Space Of You’ adds a few more layers to the warm cocoon while adhering to the same framework of the previous track, and it is here that Sada’s striking voice is at its most tender. The extra instrumentation on closing track ‘Debris’ renders it the most ambitious cut on the EP as strings gently push things forward, detracting not one bit from the elegance and dynamic control which sets this release apart from almost everything else out there.
Dee Sada’s ‘Fragments’ EP is the musical equivalent of soft, fresh bed sheets or a roaring open fire, and while it would be easy for this kind of music to get dull and derivative it is always utterly compelling. Revolving around Sada’s remarkable voice, this is mood music in the very best sense of the term. Until we get a full-length release, we have no option but to become very well-acquainted with the ten minutes of material we have here on ‘Fragments’. Now call in sick to work, grab a pillow and your headphones and treat yourself.
Words - Joe Ponting
Fragments ep is out on October 13th
Listen to 2 songs Here