thu 30/05/2024

Album: Nia Archives - Silence is Loud | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Nia Archives - Silence is Loud

Album: Nia Archives - Silence is Loud

Sweeping up generations' worth of influences into a giddy pop rush

'The sound not only of a major talent, but a generational shift in ways of hearing'

At 24, Bradfordian Nia Archives has already clearly marked out her musical territory.

While many of her Gen Z contemporaries have embraced the rave, jungle and drum’n’bass sounds of the early-mid 1990s, she’s done it more wholeheartedly than most: particularly rebuilding the rolling breakbeats and deep bass of jungle as a kind of British urban folk music, collaborating with older generations (original junglists DJ Die and Randall of Watch The Ride), and demonstrating how her natural Caribbean-influenced Yorkshire vocal articulation fits perfectly into that. 

Crucially, though, having shown she can do the classic rave styles with gusto and panache, she then set about demonstrating how much she could use that as a base to explore her other influences and demonstrate her own depth of performance and songwriting personality. A crucial moment in this came with last year’s “Off Wiv Ya Headz” where she flipped samples of Canadian electro-house DJ A-Trak’s remix of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’s “Heads Will Roll” into something recognisably her own. With this she showed she could easily incorporate the sounds of her childhood – classic rowdy 00s disco-electro-punk – into into the deeper currents which she normally tapped into. 

She does that to a way greater degree on her debut album. This is a singer-songwriter record, unmistakeably made by someone raised in the 2000s era of Lily Allen, Kate Nash, Arctic Monkeys, Amy Winehouse – but none of the “junglist” hardcore rave momentum and soundsystem power of her early work is lost. In fact, the parts are perfectly blended. Sometimes, as with the acoustic guitar and Farfisa like organ of “Cards on the Table”, the Britpop-ish elements are up front, sometimes as with “Tell Me What It’s Like”, you might not even notice that one of the riffs is a guitar until halfway through. It’s proper pop music, with all the parts in sync to provide an instant, giddy emotional rush. 

This is truly an album of someone who’s grown up completely native to the information glut age, and navigates it effortlessly. We’re told this album is influenced by “gloomy Britpop, warm Motown, soaring indie, a love for Kings of Leon’s Aha Shake Heartbreak, skittering IDM, Madchester, classic rock, old skool hardcore”, and not only is that abundantly clear, but these things flow together as if it was the most natural thing in the world. What’s more, it’s a real, old fashioned album, structured with brain and heart: it’s a gutsy move to save the relentlessly infectious single “So Tell Me…” for the end, and a really smart one to precede it with the sentimental heft of the piano-heavy, beatless reprise of the opening title track. All in all this is the sound not only of a major talent, but a generational shift in ways of hearing, coming into focus.

@joemuggs

Listen to "Silence is Loud":

This is truly an album of someone who’s grown up completely native to the information glut age

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Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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