Two years ago Maya Arulpragasam, AKA M.I.A., dropped Arular, a sharp, politically charged slice of British immigrant consciousness spliced together in her London flat with a Roland MC-505 sequencer, radio microphone, 4-track recorder and, essentially, audacity; a trait perhaps too rarely seen in contemporary British music. ‘Boyz’ serves as the first offering from Maya’s follow-up LP,_ Kala, and as further evidence of her individual brand of alchemy which elevated _Arular to modern classic status.
Both scrapbook doodle and sonically taut composition, teasingly esoteric and somehow instantly accessible, the tune really hits. For two minutes 54 seconds, Maya fronts a percussion-procession constantly shifting to its leader’s lyrical excursions. A sharp cabasa rhythm nails the irresistible “nananananannannana” refrain to the floor, only to subside to fervent audience applause with one minute remaining as Maya recalls “Cooking chicken on the wall, with the system up on full”. The precarious confidence remains.
It is interesting to note that, with ‘Boyz’, 30-year-old M.I.A. arguably captures a modern day Britain more successfully than many of her younger peers. Social commentary is often more powerfully delivered implicitly and the imperfect, work-in-progress rattle of ‘Boyz’ somehow mirrors the tensions and excitement of its creator’s (temporary) homeland.
7Nicholas Garcia's Score