Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Nia Archives uses Silence Is Loud to bring jungle's latest era to a new generation

"Silence Is Loud"

Release date: 12 April 2024
Nia Archives Silence Is Loud cover
10 April 2024, 09:00 Written by Matt Young

By employing a collage of thrilling and exquisite sounds Nia Archives is a producer, DJ, singer and songwriter who manages to wrangle a myriad of sources and influences into tightly packaged jungle tunes that have lives beyond the dance floor.

This means that the skittering beats of IDM and old school hardcore rub shoulders with moody Britpop, indie rock classics, and the warm tones of Motown, or the blissed vibes of Madchester, all woven together to invade the psyche with her syrupy sparkling vocal lines dancing over the top sharing contemporary tales.

Silence Is Loud is jungle for sure but done a little differently, in this case creating songs that lead out with strong songwriter hooks and lyricism primarily focused on navigating her 20s, relationships and feelings of loneliness. These are songs that live with you while walking round urban landscapes, on the bus, overthinking late at night in bed and they are meant to be listened to intently too, not only passing over you in a club. Tracks like “F A M I L Y”, “Cards on the Table”, “Unfinished Business” and “Nightmares” all touch on rawer aspects of growing up, dating and digging deeper than creating energetic beats alone. The cherry picked musical mixtape approach and Jamaican cultural heritage Archives brings to her own music are also reasons for the broader sounds she’s incorporating on her debut. Each song possesses its own vibrancy and is sprinkled with flecks of colour.

“Crowded Roomz” and the quartet of tracks already mentioned above are bold and unique enough to each other, to have genuine hit appeal, in a crossover sense as much as in a dance sphere but sometimes the individual song differences can become swamped by the very nature of jungle where the exuberance of textures and samples fight for attention with the lyrics and vocals. The trio of “Forbidden Feelingz”, the sense of underwritten incompleteness of “Blind Devotion” and “Tell Me What It’s Like” all lag in the album's core, weirdly given their pacing, they just feel less exciting than the openers.

The title track and it’s quieter drumless, aching, Adele-like vocal reprise showcase Archives’ talents to the max and as the album concludes with “So Tell Me…”, another moment on Silence is Loud that comes close to being a contemplative ballad, in jungle terms, Archives is reflecting on her own inner monologues. She’s taking a breath, simultaneously gazing inward and outside at the futurist urban landscape laying out her music as both idiosyncratically personal and overtly populist.

With its diaristic tone it’s a snapshot of the artist as she is right now, ambitious and unafraid to search for new territories while acknowledging jungle’s lineage and claiming her place in that. The album shoots its shot repeatedly to great effect, sometimes it’s better at hitting the mark than at other times but always seeks to embrace the euphoric and it’s obvious why Nia Archives has become a need-to-know name in dance music in a relatively short space of time.

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