Dominique developed an interest in making her own music while studying biology at New York University. A self-taught artist, she learned producing and editing her tracks by herself, carefully creating an entire EP on her laptop, working in her NYC apartment and recording vocals in the closet. This is all very impressive, and with her debut eponymous EP, Dominique puts her writing and producing skills to the test. Perhaps as a result of Dominique’s lack of formal production knowledge and equipment, the EP struggles to find a steady pace and at times even sounds inharmonious. Dominque’s real talent shines in her lyrics, and that makes sense — being able to write a good song seems to be an innate skill.
Things are as complicated on opening song “Bottled Up”s production as they are for Dominique’s love life in the lyrics. Her voice is resplendent, and the bubblegum lyrics are enjoyable, if not a bit absurd at times. (She sings about being a hermit crab. It makes total literary sense, but hits the ear a bit odd in a pop song.) Nonetheless, the real cacophony comes on the chorus, when a clash of sounds destroys the sonic bliss of the rest of the song. It seems to be meant to build the song to an electronic climax, but it’s such a discord from the verses that it’s distracting.
“Good Girl” has a sultry and dark sound, one that pairs nicely with her ethereal and angelic sounding voice. All the songs on Dominique were written and produced by Dominique – and her lyrics are strong, something that makes up for what the EP lacks in its production. As Dominique croons on “Good Girl,” both lyrically and vocally she sounds reminiscent of Lana Del Rey, with a more dance-inspired production.
The Lana-inspired lyrics/vocals continues with “Love You Better,” and Dominique’s production stays in the same lane, sounding like something you’d hear underground/on the verge of breaking into the mainstream. “Love You Better” lacks originality, though, and while the chorus is memorable, it’s just barely. The song seems to be on autopilot; it hits all its marks, but there’s nothing to really shake you to your core.
“If I Could Go Back” starts off with a clang like the chorus on “Bottled Up,” but thankfully it quickly rights itself and sees Dominique creating something truly wonderful. While it sounds a few decades old, it’s a deliberate style choice, and Dominique is able to show a range to her voice that the previous songs seemed to shy away from. Her signature falsetto is still front and center, but verses and the chorus are both peppered with other vocal tracks that feel more raw. This is the emotion that the other songs lack.
Dominique closes with “I Think I’m Fallin'”, and it’s another track that gets it right. The EP may have gotten off to a shaky start, but Dominique eventually found her sound and was able to inject emotion into her vocals. Once this happened, Dominique is an enjoyable listen. Production may be a skill Dominique needs to further finesse, but her lyrical prowess is a high point, and something that will likely continue with her as her career continues and she branches out to working with others.
Play Dominique on Spotify and purchase it on iTunes. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.