Album Review

Nia Archives - Silence Is Loud

Her trailblazer status has never been more assured.

Nia Archives - Silence Is Loud

There’s a slight irony in the fact that an album so jam-packed is entitled ‘Silence Is Loud’, but the remarkable feat of Nia Archives’ debut is that it somehow never feels too much or too choppy; for all its referential nods and sonic variation, this is still a project that is cohesively, distinctly her. Painting from a determinedly broad genre palette that takes in British indie, plus R&B, dancehall and more, her status as the trailblazer of new-gen junglists has never been more assured. ‘Forbidden Feelingz’ and ‘Out Of Options’ nod to ragga and lovers rock respectively; ‘Cards On The Table’ sees her take cues from the laconic delivery of Lily Allen (“Your eyes are blue / Mine are brown with a tint of hazel / Ain’t no one like you / I guess that my cards are on the table” is a bar that could easily sit on the ‘00s icon’s ‘Alright, Still’); and the airy synths of closer ‘So Tell Me’ have a nostalgic hopefulness that recalls Britpop at its most wistful.

There are points at which Nia leans into her rave roots with more club-ready results (‘Unfinished Business’; ‘Tell Me What It’s Like’), but it’s where she pares back the intensity that her multi-hyphenate talent - as a singer and vulnerable lyricist, as well as a beatmaker and producer - is permitted the space to really shine. The title track and its reprise are a case in point: while the former is a heady mix of propulsive drums, whirring electronics and reverb-drenched vocals, the latter arrangement - completely sans drums - is as sparse and unguarded as we’ve ever heard Nia, her soulful vocals (quite literally) cutting through the surrounding noise.

Tags: Nia Archives, Reviews, Album Reviews

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