denitia returns with the achingly masterful ‘touch of the sky’

November 18, 2019
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After gaining acclaim as half of the indie-pop duo denitia & sene., denitia has spent the past few years expanding on her lush dreamy sound on her own. Her latest, Touch of the Sky is her most focused and inventive record in recent years. denitia’s music has always floated between dense atmospheres and her facility with pop hooks. OnĀ Touch of the Sky, denitia delivers the best of both worlds: a swirling suite of melting guitars and pulsating bass and some of her best hooks to date.

Leading with “23,” the record sets the stage with an indelible soulful vocal. The guitars nearly vanish into the waves of reverb, while massive drums cut through the fog. It’s a perfectly haunting song of longing. “Where You Go” rides an insistent bassline into a triumphant dance punk chorus. One of the absolute highlights in an album built primarily of highlights, the guitars float like mercury before kicking into full drive in the bridge. “Waves” finds the artist, who recently relocated to the Rockaways to escape the endless hustle of Brooklyn, staring out into the ocean while connecting the dots between ’90s alt-rock and 60s soul. Pixies-esque guitar work melts out of the speakers and back beneath denitia’s aching melody.

Despite Touch of the Sky‘s best parts often being denitia’s infinite chiaroscuro production, “Sweat” stands out as the album’s centerpiece. The angular post-punk beat grounds a song whose production swirls like your head at the end of the night. denitia’s vocals are distorted and tense, it’s claustrophobic and massive at the same time in the best way. She closes the record with its polar opposite, the glitched-out ballad “Midnight Lightning” which sputters with digital bit rot amplifying the emotional disconnect at the heart of the song. Too many artists cake on vocal effects to mask the person behind the microphone; here denitia does the exact opposite. Each glitch amplifies the pain in her voice until the song washes away like so many waves.

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