by Olivier LaRoche
On his most recent full length project, NNAMDÏ displays his talents as a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. BRAT is a tight collection of sweet, colourful tracks all tied together with a general theme of introspective intimacy.
NNAMDÏ uses vocal manipulation throughout BRAT, always in creative ways. From ad-libs to melodic hooks, NNAMDÏ shows his skill and versatility using autotune and similar techniques to add a new dimension to his vocals. For a feature that can soon become tired over the course of a full-length album, he manages to keep it fresh, each time adding an interesting quality to the song. The unpredictable vocal manipulation is coupled with dynamic shifts throughout the album and provides sufficient ups and downs to keep the listening experience captivating.
On the instrumental side of things, many songs are laid with a blanket of lush instrumentation behind the soft vocals to further envelop the listener in NNAMDÏ’s emotions. His introspective themes of self-affirmation and hope are perfectly mirrored by the often delicate instrumentals.
The track “It’s OK’’ is a great example of this with its warm synth patterns and minimalist beat. The song “Everyone I Loved’’ takes a similar approach at first, but it eventually builds into a more upbeat and busy sound. A stunning piano solo makes up the last leg of the song, providing a beautiful sense of closure. Sound effects are briefly experimented with, like the interweaving of songbirds on the track “Salut’’ and the water droplets that introduce the song “Really Don’t’’.
The vulnerability of the lyrics give the sense that one is hearing the artist’s thoughts and feelings in an intimate context, giving another reason to listen to the album from front to back. Stopping the album midway would be like hanging up on one’s friend who is in the middle of opening up about personal issues. The reward for staying on the line and listening to the whole project is a tasteful blend of melodic pop that tells the story of NNAMDÏ’s current life. Not only is the music enjoyable, but there is an imaginary bond formed between listener and artist thanks to the personal nature of the lyrics and their pairing to such delicate instrumentals.