Nia Archives: Sunrise Bang Ur Head Against tha Wall EP Album Review

If Nia Archives is bearing the brunt of expectations, then it doesn’t let it show. In the past 18 months, the Bradford-born, London-based production company has garnered virtually every UK industry accolade available to her (including a MOBO award, NME nods and announcements in BBC and BRIT polls) and has apparently been faced with the responsibility of resurrecting jungle music for a whole new generation, all on the back of just a handful of tracks, along with plenty of DJ sets. electrifying. Yet he moves with the lightness of someone who’s just floated out of the club and into a taxi, smiling at what comes next.

She seems, rightly, excited by the whole thing, and it’s arguably this unrestrained, joyous touch that has drawn so many who flock to her frenetic beats. In Dawn bangs your head against the wallhis second six-track solo EP, he brings out his jazzy voice and dispenses with some of the more meticulous production tricks that so impressively peppered last year. Forbidden Feeling. This puts her ability to document the minutiae of the life of the party and all the emotional entanglements that follow it, front and center, and reveals the makings of a uniquely talented pop writer.

But first: “Baianá”. The opener here, built around a fast-paced, dissected sample from Brazilian body music troupe Barbatuques, is fun with a capital fucking yes. Vocals are repurposed like rave sirens, no drum is too much, and the only sign of a slackening comes in the brief beeps as he lets his bass and smashed snares rumble on their own and undisturbed. After rush hour, there are moves to be made afterwards. “That’s tha Way Life Goes” delivers a bittersweet rave crew as Nia Archives pirouettes toward a revelation: “‘Cause if it’s not you, then it’s nobody/I gave you my soul, mind, and body.” It’s the blandest combination of modern idioms—“it is what it is”—injected with the potent surprise of life and love. Packed with marshmallow bass lines and lulling choruses, accepting your fate never sounded so exuberant.

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The strings that shine on the bridge of “So Tell Me…”, for their part, recall, with the same tender feeling, the soundtrack of Mike Skinner wiping his eyes back in 2004. Like Skinner, although with less affectation, Nia Archives has the ability to depict the sordid, perhaps even regrettable situations of life at the kitchen sink with unguarded honesty, empathy, and understanding. When it’s not Nia doing the singing, she uses her obsessive splicing skills to give Maverick Saber’s vocals a shot of funk in a classic lovers back and forth on “No Need 2 Be Sorry, Call Me?”

If there were more of all this. For the most part, these tracks offer snapshots and snippets that could otherwise be fleshed out into more fleshed-out stories. Then again, maybe that’s the point: this is an EP about prolonging the short end of the night and making well-intentioned plans for the daylight hours of life. It’s party music for people starting to feel the urge to see a whole Sunday for the first time in a long time.

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