Nadia McAnuff Lock Down Review

Nadia McAnuff – Lock Down – Review

Nadia McAnuff featuring The Ligerians: Lock Down Single Review by Mr Topple for

Sometimes a song is worth revisiting – not least when it was highly pertinent at the time, and still is. A track from Nadia McAnuff’s 2021 EP with The Ligerians fits this bill – and it is perfection.

Lock Down featured on McAnuff and The Ligerians’ November 2021 EP. It was composed by The Ligerians, written by McAnuff and produced by SoulNurse Records. The mixing by Gabriel Bouillon is on-point, and the final mastering by Laurent “Tippy I” Alfred of I Grade Records (and Zion I Kings) is pure perfection – evoking the unsettling nature of the track perfectly.

It’s Roots Reggae in formation, but with some wonderful ingenuity and attention to detail found across it. What firstly stands out are The Ligerians’ chord progressions (especially on the chorus): melodic, emotive and varied – giving the track a soulful feel. More traditional Reggae musical devices are in play – like the grand opening with its frantic, rolling drum rolls. Then, Lock Down uses some recognisable tools.

Emma Hocquellet’s keys run a choppy bubble rhythm, with the chords being staccato and in the middle range of their register. At points, they break out into pleasing riffs at the ends of some phrases, bringing additional interest. Jakub Trzepizur’s bass is interesting: running a fairly syncopated, melody-based riff which turns into a one drop on the second bar of each phrase. Gabriel Bouillon’s guitar skanks nicely – breaking out at times into whining chords and riffs across dotted notation.

But François Lattouf’s drums veer from strict Reggae sensibilities. While the snare hits the two and four, with hi-hats filling the spaces in between, the kick sounds like it hist every beat – avoiding the usual one drop. Lattouf brings a lovely level of detail to the drums’ additional syncopated phrases, and his use of percussion is also nice, including a washboard, chimes and tambourine. There’s also some excellent synths and samples employed across Lock Down – including backspins to give a vinyl feel and some synth horns which feel very 80s Synthwave. Add into this excellent engineering – including rhythmic reverb and a phone call effect across the main vocal.

McAnuff’s performance is perfectly pitched. Her signature style, drawing influences from both Roots and Jazz, is at full power here. She’s taken the rhythmic sensibilities of singjay and merged them with the delivery of Jazz. This means that her vocal is fluid and constantly moving, but with a smoky and effortless air which is highly engaging as a listener. McAnuff runs up and down her register with ease; there’s particular singjay-style attention to rhythmic detail on the verses and on the choruses, she employs a delicate yet haunting delivery.

All this matches her lyrical content perfectly – as McAnuff laments the dubious agendas of governments during the coronavirus pandemic. She has built a narrative that rightly questions Babylon and its proponents’ motivations behind lockdowns that were seen across the world. “Fighting without a cause; making shady laws, misleading the youths as they distort the truth” as McAnuff sings – and it’s compelling listening.

Overall, Lock Down is a sterling effort from McAnuff, The Ligerians and all involved. Musically ingenious, rich and lustrous, it shows the skill the collective has. McAnuff is vocally and lyrically delicious and overall, it was perhaps one of the strongest tracks from the EP.

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Nadia McAnuff Lock Down Review by Mr Topple / Pauzeradio PR Services (11th July 2022).

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