Fresh off a nomination for Rising Star at the Brit Awards, Nia Archives delivers a fun, new EP that continues to expand her artistry beyond the club aesthetic. Archives isn’t new to the diverseness instruments, beyond the board, which add or steer a track toward the emotional direction she chooses. The potency of Sunrise Bang Ur Head Against Tha Wall isn’t subtle and more direct toward what it wants to say, instead of trying to push two elements together to create poorly constructed contrasting sounds. Unfortunately, after a strong start, it becomes more aspects than the whole song being as compelling. Incorporating more breakbeat and drum-n-bass into the music, playing into being a balance beam so that these external factors can build upon them and hit it perfectly. We get a sense of greatness as it continues to replay, despite lingering setbacks that can turn songs into something grander.
Sunrise Bang Ur Head Against Tha Wall had a few singles leading into them, and though it wasn’t known to me that they were, these tracks have lavish production and melodies creating distinct sounds. “Baianá” brings this tropical flair to the more Jungle-influenced beat, keeping the dancefloor lively with its infectious melodies bringing forth that feeling. “So Tell Me” is the other, which takes a different approach as it uses more strings to create something unique. It breaks down the drum-n-bass aesthetic, blending some breakbeat undertones and shifting between a soulful performance to something more nuanced in pop, all without feeling jarring. Unfortunately, the songwriting isn’t as captivating, never seeming to let its repetitive nature feel empowering. It’s the opposite with the following track, “Conveniency,” which does more with the string orchestration, as opposed to “So Tell Me,” where it loses it for more pop flavors. These round out the three singles.
Nia Archives’ production with co-producer Jakwob keeps each sound refreshing, taking you through the percussion-driven motif and delivering something memorable with some of the vocal performances. Archives is capable of that, and she hits the notes beautifully on the first three tracks and “Conveniency.” However, the better vocal performances come in the first two tracks, “Baianá” and “That’s Tha Way Life Goes,” which blend these radiant R&B/Jazz vocals over a smooth drum-n-bass beat. It keeps a soulful energy while immersing itself within more mellow club vibes. Contrasting it, but equally as exceptional, is the final track, which beautifully brings depth to the minimalist vocals, letting the production guide you while her voice rounds it all out.
At its highest point, like “Conveniency,” you get a more grounded performance that fits her vibe naturally. They never feel glitzy, keeping you focused on the switching melodies and beat switches. It makes the one song with a featured artist, “No Need 2 Be Sorry, Call Me?” more distinct. Irish singer/songwriter Maverick Sabre joins her on the track, elevating it with his soulful vocals contrasting Archives’ more streamlined performance. It’s a track that hits all the right chords but never excels past other songs, with some repetitive BPMs in the drums between this and others. But as it closes, you get this fantastic, well-rounded project that boasts Archives’ strength and lets you get enveloped by what kind of work she makes. It’s not as bombastic as previous tracks “21 & Over” and “Forbidden Feelingz,” only giving us one and another that balances that loud nature with crisp rhythms.