E.P. REVIEW: Plead The Fifth by Dejhare

Dejhare (pronounced Dei-Jhar) is a singer and songwriter based in San Jose, California. She first released an eponymous six-track E.P. in the autumn of 2018, which was popular. Dejhare then released her debut full length album, Unbreakable, in 2019. This brought her more acclaim and expanded her fanbase. 2020 saw the release of D7, a seven track experimental album that featured reinterpretations and dance versions of seven songs from Unbreakable. She has since released singles such as Do What You Gotta Do and Long Time No See.

This latest EP, Plead The Fifth, consists of five tracks and Dejhare has described the EP as being about “our collective vulnerability as people living in the 21st century.”

It opens with the upbeat EDM pop of Take Five. It’s a song about the importance of taking time out to relax and find respite amidst the hectic nature of modern life. Starting out with a pulsing kick drum and mood setting synths, it provides the backdrop for Dejhare’s exotic and distinctive vocal style. Produced to perfection, her vocals shimmer and glisten, comparable to artists like Lady Gaga and Dua Lipa.

After an excellent bridge, the title hook then makes an instantaneous impact: “Take five, we need some time to recharge, take five, we need some time to strategise…. Understated yet instantly memorable, this addictive track stands out as an obvious lead single from the EP.

Equally good is the superb Skeletons, which follows. Set at a faster tempo than Take Five, it’s a sophisticated pop/dance track with a strong lyrical message. Dejhare has stated that it’s about “people who refuse to take responsibility for their choices and their actions”. This serious and important theme is set to an energetic and effusive EDM backing track, providing the suitable soundscape for another excellent vocal performance from Dejhare, delivering towards the top of her considerable range.

Lyrically, Dejhare is truly honest and expressive, challenging those who attack others yet, as she acknowledges, “we all have skeletons in our closet”. While it deals with other people’s negativity, Dejhare has a positive resolution to the problem: “See the world beyond your eyes, show the world something worthwhile…”. Another very strong track, and also suitable single material with its radio friendly sound.

Third track Perception is a nice contrast, this one a languid yet infectious dancehall/EDM song that brought to mind Major Lazer. As with Skeletons, Dejhare has a powerful lyrical message to convey here and this song encourages us “to let go of outdated notions like discrimination and human rights abuses in the face of our fast-paced technological development, and bring the things that really matter to the forefront in our lives”.

Beginning with a poignant, classical-style piano intro, it gradually builds towards an anthemic chorus conjoined with huge sounding synth riffs. The second verse talks about how “common sense should speak louder than any words”. It’s certainly a complex issue to explore within the framework of a four minute track and much respect is due to her for taking it on and doing so very successfully.

Not Alone again provides another fine contrast, this one combining a euphoric pop dance track with another contemplative lyrical subject. Dejhare has said this track

“empowers those of us who are marginalized and discriminated for whatever reason and encourages us to take flight”. This is encapsulated in the vibrancy and momentum of this very well written and produced song.

The EP closes with the title track and it’s a blazing way to finish. A very upbeat EDM track that packs a real punch, Plead The Fifth manages to summarise the various lyrical themes contained within the five tracks. Musically, it’s built around a solid, punchy 2/4 groove augmented with synths which brought to mind early New Order. Delivering another skyscraper of a vocal, the closing lyrical message appears to be that we are far from perfect as human beings but we can always do better.

Overall, this is a first rate EDM/pop EP from an artist with enormous commercial potential. While her fantastic voice is the main draw, it’s the high quality melodies and deep, soul searching lyrics that set Dejhare apart and that’s why she will go from strength to strength. By combining the anthemic style of EDM with lyrical themes that capture the difficulties of modern existence, Dejhare has produced the perfect pop for the times.

VERDICT =  9 out of 10 

Alex Faulkner

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