Rising Sun

DK Dyson

Ocean Records, 1997


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Any time a label compares one of their artists to Whitney Houston, I cringe. I'm admittedly not a fan of hers - tom my tired old ears, the music she sings often seem to be showoff pieces for her vocal range.

So newcomer DK Dyson (previously a member of Eye & I) had an uphill battle going for her when I popped her debut disc Rising Sun into my CD-ROM drive to listen to one day during a heated game of solitaire. (The battle became tougher when my multi-disc CD-ROM ate her CD, and had to be shipped out for repair - true story.)

But with CD-ROM and album returned to me none the worse for wear, I heard an artist who does take some time to warm up to, and barring a few mistakes on the disc, has put out a respectable effort.

To compare Dyson to Houston isn't quite fair - I don't sense the need to show off how high Dyson can sing here (though she shows she can hit eardrum-piercing notes). She also seems torn between several worlds of music, all of which seem at times to be quite different from each other.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

In the R&B world, Dyson stumbles a little. The album's opening track "Revolution" is a decent effort, but the song itself fails to jell the way one would hope. When it comes time to cover Smokey Robinson's "Still Waters Run Deep," Dyson hits her stride, and hits it well. Her cover of this song is quite pretty and it gives her a chance to add her own personal touch to the number.

On other songs, Dyson proves she could be one hell of a torch singer in clubs. "Brown Angel" is a powerful, if not a tad too long, number that is a wonderful tool for her to show her vocal talents. A similar song, "Be Greatful," allows Dyson to display power without hystrionics.

Dyson is at her best, however, when she turns to soul-infused rock. "Mercy Ollie" is a song that could be a successful single for her, infusing a great funk beat with the crunch of guitars in just the right mix. Another song in this vein, "Anytime, Anywhere," is another candidate for a huge-airplay single.

But while Rising Sun has many good moments, it too has some that are just way off the mark. Another attempt to dip into the R&B vein (this time bringing in the funk), "Baci" is a song that falls flat right out of the gate. Dyson is singing to another woman who has moved on and away. The subject matter of the song is confusing - is Baci a friend? A lover? And were the song a better one, I might have cared to delve into the lyrics further. Another song about a lost lover, "Arthur's Songe," isn't developed the way I would have thought it could have been, and is a weak representation of what could have been.

The one difficult aspect of Rising Sun is that it's not an album most listeners will warm up to on one listen. But the more I listened to the disc, the more I found to like about it - if you have the time and patience, this one is a definite three-listen disc just to get an accurate feeling of Dyson's vibe.

With Houston eschewing a pop music career for the big screen these days, Dyson may be entering the music scene at just the right time to become the next crossover R&B star. And while Rising Sun has several rough edges that I'm sure will be smoothed out as her career advances, this disc shows she's ready to ascend the throne vacated by Houston.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1997 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Ocean Records, and is used for informational purposes only.