There is nothing that quite compares to the smugness of discovering a <1000 Spotify gem. East London-based Machunian Nia Archives has only released one song and already possesses an alluring air of mystery. Her Instagram feed is filled with grainy 8mm videos of dark cityscapes and the artistry she has revealed so far strikes the balance of having both a strong sense of self and a promise of growth. Sober Feels, her debut single, blends all the best parts of a Saturday night and a Sunday morning with its weighty backbeat and intoxicating release.
A warm, blissful guitar riff grounds Archives’ slick, honeyed tones. Her impressive vocals fit well with the current crowd of British neo-soul queens such as Greentea Peng, Poppy Ajudha and Joy Crookes. Then, a choppy jungle beat breaks in, giving the song a wonderfully zippy yet restrained energy with a wubbing synth underlying the chorus.
“[she] blends all the best parts of a Saturday night and a Sunday morning…”
“I don’t like how sober feels,” Archives purrs, longing once more for a hedonistic high, “because each day for me it feels oh so real”. Drawing up an escape from reality, her layered vocals have a hypnotic quality that turns her style of soul-infused drum and bass into a dancefloor lullaby. Remarkably, the track manages to be both relieving and invigorating in equal measure.
“her layered vocals have a hypnotic quality that turns her style of soul-infused drum and bass into a dancefloor lullaby”
To boot, Sober Feels is a true showcase of Archives’ talent as it was written, produced, performed, mixed and engineered by her alone. Not only is her fierce independence laudable but the sound of this DIY spirit is palpable and rears itself in the song’s striking edge. All in all, the unearthing of this hidden treasure has uncovered an artist with big things in store.