Dara Blaxx uses the six tracks of her debut EP Arrhythmia to take listeners through the emotional ups and downs of a less than perfect relationship. Representing the emotional ride literally and figuratively through the heart, she brings the doubts, questioning and journey to understanding self-worth to your ears. As she navigates the emotional landscape of relationships, she shines with the confidence that has become a staple in her music.
Recorded during the pandemic, Blaxx had to adapt to lockdown rules and regulations with the majority of the EP recorded at home. All engagement with producers and engineers was handled remotely making this a rather special collection. Fully embracing the recording process, she lays down strong vocals with thumping yet aching melodies.
The EP opens with the title track ‘Arrhythmia’ which brings the thematic concept of the EP to your ears. The heartbeats that dominate the soundscape are wonderfully met by an ethereal swirl of tones. Blaxx’s vocals are spoken word as they detail what arrhythmia is before sweeping harmonising vocals send shivers racing through you. It is an intense opening to the EP that leaves you shivering and weak limbed in the wake of its glory.
‘Slow Down’ offers you a more soulful tone that gives you a moment of rest after the shivering intensity of the opening track. The vocals are soulful slides with a depth that is utterly delightful. The melody is quite interesting as it hits you with RnB beats and the ripples of water. Every bit of the song is a combination of soul and RnB against a modulated soundscape. The rise and fall of volume is interesting and something you don’t hear very often. As you ride the flows of the song, you feel the urge to slow down in a relationship.
The melody of ‘Before I Leave’ is a real masterclass in dichotomy. There is a smooth melodic line that draws you in before a trap-style beat hits you. The duality of the melody is a perfect sonic accompaniment to the crossroad in a relationship detailed in the lyrics. A lot of the melody is upbeat that makes you think of happy times which is at odds with the less than perfect relationship in the lyrics. The vocals continue the contrasting flows of the music through the paced flow that slides into soaring soul.
‘Break My Heart’ hits you with an almost pop-dance beat that gets you moving. Blaxx’s vocals dance over the beats for a depth of RnB that carries a warning in the lyrics. There is a slightly retro feeling to the song but this is washed in a really modern edge. The lyrics are really catchy and you could find yourself singing along while riding the emotions of the track. Through her vocal delivery, you are led into a consideration of heartbreak and the potential issues that could lead to this.
The laughing opening of ‘One Last Time’ is a little at odds with the depth of the beats and opening vocals. There is a beat that does not stop in this song that pounds against your ears while making your feet shuffle to the rhythm. In the lyrics, there is a confrontation with someone who has broken your heart and abused the trust you placed in them. The pounding beat really drives the emotions of the lyrics while something a little dark rests in the lower levels of the melody.
The EP comes to a close with ‘Beg for It’ which is really the perfect way to close the journey of the EP. The spoken word in the opening reminds listeners that you don’t have to beg someone to love you. The soulful vocals rise from beneath the spoken word and fill you with a sense of confidence. There is a push toward self-worth in this song that leaves you feeling powerful after the rollercoaster of emotions that make up the rest of the EP.
Dara Blaxx takes you on an intense emotional rollercoaster detailing the ups and downs of relationships in Arrhythmia. Each track is a wonderful combination of soulful vocals, smooth RnB and some trap-style beats. As the rhythm of the songs pound through you, the slide of the vocals fills you with the emotional journey of the EP.