Muhsinah

Day.Break

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AllMusic Review by

It can be a revelation to listen to Muhsinah's Day.Break for two reasons. First, it's quickly apparent that this singer-songwriter-producer is among the most talented artists out there, with her deftness at constructing esoteric beats ("Mine"), crafting accessible, yet cryptic lyrics ("Discover"), and arranging layered, hefty vocals ("Reconstruct"). Yet, all of this can be mentally muted by the overwhelming suspicion one contends with, the hunch that you're listening to yet another Georgia Anne Muldrow album under one of her new aliases. After confirming that Muhsinah is, in fact, an entirely different human being, hailing from an entirely different coast (Muldrow is from L.A., Muhsinah reps D.C.) it's hard to get past similarities that, at times, are beyond eerie. Muhsinah spends the album's first seven tracks pulling off the most uncanny Muldrow impression that one can imagine -- the syncopated rhythms, the dissonant and whimsical vocal harmonies, the non-sequiturs and abstract lyrics -- since Muldrow is thought to be among music's most unique artists. But it's the last two tracks on this EP -- "Millions" and "Only and Always" -- where Muhsinah establishes a clear, discernibly different aesthetic between herself and her left-coast savant/pioneer. Day.Break is a more accessible album than anything out of the Muldrow wheelhouse, with songs taking on the more staid verse-hook-bridge ride-out composition. But Muhsinah also shows a unique vocal styling on the last two tracks that are far more contemporary than the rest of the album is, say, futuristic. It's in this pocket where Muhsinah presents a self-portrait that is just as compelling as the Muldrow lookalike images heard for the bulk of the album. And ultimately, despite some of the copycat tendencies found on this EP, the music and artist are undeniable.