Diva: Moon Moods
If you’ve ever wanted to travel through space and time, Diva Dompé seems to be right there with you. Well, as long as the time is just back to the late ‘60s through the ‘80s. Diva has just released her second album, Moon Moods, which has a definite cosmic sound for the space travel part, and some vintage sounds (as well as aesthetics if you watch her videos or see the album cover) for the time part. The Los Angeles-based musician grew up in Laurel Canyon with very young parents who took her to parties, brunch, and raves – yep, raves. Considering that Diva is her real name and that she thinks she may have been a princess from Yaelmel who escaped death by a new, oppressive regime and was sent here to spread love, it all makes sense. She and Superman could form a support group for refugee space children sent to Earth on important missions.
“Smooth Ride” sounds like early ‘90s R&B complete with the synthesized beat and even a saxophone thrown in for good measure. The heavy use of synthesizers harkens back to ‘80s pop; “Feline Divine” almost has a Duran Duran sound to it. By the way, “Feline Divine” isn’t a play on words about a cat feeling good, it’s got some occult themes and lyrics about the “blood of the cat” doing something I couldn’t make out to your soul. There’s kind of, sort of a bit of an Elvis feel to “Lonely Drive,” but then what would be a perfectly pleasant song (and the only one with the sounds of a real guitar, strings, and horns) is made cheesy by the sound of cars driving by periodically and crashing at the end. Take those out and it’s a good track. The old school sound on this album isn’t as authentic as it might have been: Diva usually employs an old-school recording technique. She used to record everything on a cassette or 8-track but switched to a computer for this album because she didn’t like the way the cassette recordings when blared over an “averagely bad PA system,” as she told Vice. The crisp sound of modern technology is appreciated.
The music is soft, flowy, spacey, and totally synth. Many of the songs have such repetitive arrangements that they showcase Diva’s voice. Her voice lacks polish, it doesn’t quite hit all of the marks she goes for (which I found most noticeable on “Cyborg Sweetie,” a song about being in love with a robot.) She seems to have manipulated her voice (or just slowed the vocal track waaaay down) on “Avocado Afternoons” so that it sounds like a drug trip as portrayed on television, complete with everyone’s voices getting low, slow, and barely comprehendible. “Uncoiled” seems to suit her voice best; it almost sounds Blondie-esque with Debbie Harry-style vocals (though without Harry’s power) over way too many chime sounds.
The album will grow on you after a few listens, but her voice and some of the repetitive beats may hold you back from giving it a second play.
MP3: Diva “Feline Divine”
Buy: iTunes or Insound! vinyl