Denitia, a modern-day folkie from Texas, and Sene, a neo-classicist NYC rapper, met by accident and began recording together almost on a whim. They’ve since forged an unlikely union, but the result is nothing like you’d expect. Forget either folk or hip-hop. Instead, their new album is a lo-fi soundscape of electro-squiggles and thudding drumbeats anchored by hit-worthy pop hooks.
For most of the album, Denitia ramps her naturally sunny singing voice way down to a half-stoned Cat Power-esque murmur. Sene joins in only occasionally, and mostly for the choruses. The division of labor is as unexpected as their new sound. “performed by denitia and sene,” the album credits read, but “produced and written by sene.” I’m surprised that these wistful, futurist songs are Sene’s because his rap lyrics never hinted that this new direction was possible.
Beyond their surprisingly modern sound, beyond the ear-candy quality of their half-sung hooks and choruses, my favorite thing about His and Hers is that it never commits the cardinal sin of taking itself too seriously. There are no anthems, no epic statements. If there is an overriding theme, it’s restlessness and ambivalence. The breakup songs aren’t angry (“I noticed you packed your clothes. Are you going?”). The love songs aren’t quite sure of themselves (“I’m your new ride. These tires roll. Drive me again”). The first single, “Casanova,” splits the difference. It’s hard to tell if the two characters end up together or don’t. I’m not even sure the song knows.
Album: His and Hers
Artist: Denitia and Sene
Songs: (1) Because We Are Fools (2) Call U (3) Casanova (4) Again (New Ride) (5) Lucky, Loosie. (6) Trip. Fall. (7) Stupid World (8) She's Not the Only One (9) How To Satisfy (10) Blah Blah Blah