Niomi, we love you, but you still need a proper official site.
Katherine St Asaph: Never soft, indeed, thanks to hyper-cinematic backdrops, beats like sharpening steel and a couple headphone surprises I won’t spoil. This is Labrinth’s work, which makes you wonder what the hell he was doing before this. Ms Dynamite’s work is in stabbing and feinting through all this, and on the “take you away” — bridge? interlude? — letting slip vulnerability. This has fifteen songs and fifty armies’ worth of poise; if only it had equivalent exposure.
Pete Baran: There is something wonderfully uncompromising about this track from Ms Dynamite. She brings back her awesome chatting, dropping old reggae plates and then the hooktastic chorus with the skittery drum and bass building to a wonderful club climax. This really, really shouldn’t work — but by god it does. It’s probably no good for her bank balance, but Dymamite’s occasional smash-and-grab raids into my pop consciousness are really some of the most exciting moments of the last few years, and this is up there with the best of them.
Edward Okulicz: Sounding ever more like a woman on top of not just her own game, but everyone’s else’s too, Ms Dynamite gallops across a gleaming, skittering production, slaying everything and everyone in her path. “Neva Soft” is both a feet-mover and a head-shaker: Both Dynamite and Labrinth are on top form here — she spits melodically and fiercely, and he splices reggae touches in the intro with buzzing D&B to excellent effect.
Andy Hutchins: The pre-hook of “Neva Soft,” when the skittering drums fuse with flat synths from a decaying arcade cabinet, is the draw; the bridge, when all the non-vocals roll back to shore and crash in like the tidal “Til The World Ends” bridge, is okay. The rest — patois-y talk about Ms. Dynamite’s dependable riddim and personal stylo over an instrumental that can’t seem to pick an idea it likes enough to stick with for 15 seconds — is a bit too busy, and that last “take you away” had me nodding in agreement rather than admiration.
Hazel Robinson: This is completely fucking stonking, combining the most aggressive bass and quick-fire rap with smooth, strident singing. It’s hard and it’s fast and it does what it says on the tin; it gets cold and it gets spacey and it’s even inviting but there’s no question where the power lies. She’s rarely been anything but blinding since she went back into the underground but this is a tour de force and it would be a tragedy if it doesn’t get enough play to launch her straight back into the upper chart echelons. Stunning.
Michaela Drapes: I was never keen on Ms Dynamite’s heavy-handed message songs back in the day, but now that she’s been through the wringer of the British tabloids-and-reality-show circuit, she deserves a nice comeback after that turn on Katy B’s “Lights On”, I guess. Unfortunately, I can’t say that this too-long, meandering mess was the way to go. I was little bummed to discover that Labrinth was behind this malformed mishmash; I was really expecting better of him after “Finish Line” and “Frisky”. Can’t win them all, I guess.
Jonathan Bogart: The skin cream? Oh, wait, never soft. I must have been thinking of Nivea Soft.