Du Malai – ‘Heart Bus Desires’ EP

The Heart Bus Desires EP struts a melodic melding of R&B, Afro-pop, and hip-hop, showcasing the accessible sound of Du Malai. Based in San Antonio, Texas, the artist was born in Lagos, Nigeria and raised in the Bronx. His previous EP, last year’s Heart Bus Despair, drew praise for its atmospheric production and infectious songwriting — and Heart Bus Desires continues those strengths with an even more memorable byproduct, exploring headier themes with catchier structural culminations and an engrossing Afropunk spirit.

“In my fantasy, you were into me,” the vocals let out on the opening track, dazzling alongside twinkling synths and a bass-heavier verse traversal. A sense of unrequited love lingers beautifully amidst the ethereal pop production, capturing the ethos of being stuck in one’s emotions and fantasies. “Feelings Hard” captures a similarly effective yearning, though set here against a more ferocious hip-hop delivery. “I’m going hard with it,” the confident vocals emit, asking “is it for the clicks?” into the flourishing hook with escalating vocal vigor.

Another highlight, the EP’s title track exudes a triumphant-feeling beat alongside lyrics lamenting they did someone wrong. The vocals assume a soaring R&B quality — “I feel the fire,” — as the structural escalation progresses. “Deep down I question my own worth, if I’m not in your world,” laments consistently align with previous explorations into unrequited love and striving for partnership. EP finale “Groove” presents a comforting production, showing a soulful R&B drive into the “shall we groove?” central enticement. Heart Bus Desires is a compelling, melodic success from Du Malai.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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