Nia Archives is jungle’s newest it girl – a moniker that she’s rightfully earned through her endless championing and revamping of the genre. With her latest EP, ‘Sunrise Bang Ur Head Against The Wall’, she lands on a more eclectic sound than on previous releases and comes good on a promise she made last year.
Speaking to NME in her first Big Read cover story, the producer and DJ said she wanted to stop putting out songs she “hoped other people will like and approve of” and instead be “honest and real with [herself]”. This new record is the culmination of that, featuring six “less ravey” tracks that explore a multitude of emotions – from heartbreak, confusion and complacency – all speaking on her life right now.
That’s one of this EP’s biggest strengths. ‘So Tell Me’ and ‘Conveniency’ show her passion to create vivid songs that detail the times when you have to let love die. The former explores whether you should stay with someone in bad times, while the latter explicitly describes being unappreciated in a relationship: “And your priorities lately / So tell me is it me, is it me.” Both tracks dabble in more subdued genres than the one Nia has made her name with so far – ‘Conveniency’ stepping into R&B territory and ‘So Tell Me’ coloured with soft rock – but she pulls off both with ease.
Elsewhere, the Bradford-born artist pulls out more surprises, like a collaboration with Maverick Sabre on ‘No Need 2 Be Sorry, Call Me?’. Together with the soulful Irish singer, she creates an irresistibly mellow track that will make you think about that special someone that’s persistently on your mind. It’s the EP’s shining moment, Nia’s lilt complementing Sabre’s unique vocal style perfectly. Concise and uncomplicated in its lyricism, it solidifies Nia as a golden songwriter.
The likes of the high-octane bossa nova rework ‘Baianá’ and the lofty titular track let her production skills stand out, but it’s her songwriting that really takes the spotlight on this EP. Less reliant on beats to get you moving, its toned-down feel makes you sit with Nia’s stories and see the person behind the tunes she spins. Being able to show so much humanity and versatility so early in her career is highly respectable and if this is a glimpse of the future, Nia Archives looks set to become an unstoppable generational talent.
- Label: Island Records/HIJINXX
- Release date: March 10, 2023
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