The one thing that hip-hop and all its sub-genres has always been good at is the quick hit, the knife edge incision, the punch to the chest that comes through deftly wielded lyrics and pugilistic beats. And whilst Nath does bring plenty of that to the table, the real selling point is the almost symphonic way that he approaches his music. Whilst many fellow urban sonic warriors employ bombast and beat to make their point, Opinions of The People is more about soundscapes, the dynamic rise and fall, the long musical sweep which it seems to have more in common with classical music rather than anything found in the mainstream popular music canon. This is different. This is cinematic. This is deftly wrought and writ large.
As the opening salvo, Acknowledged, gets underway, you can tell that this is an artist who thinks differently. Brooding strings and electronic washes drive the narrative, one which itself helps to heat the anticipation and build the atmospherics rather than just being something merely to carry the lyrics along.
Waiting is a troubled and tremulous track, built from cavernous beats and dark spaces, which underpinning the lyrics like sonic punctuation marks and the gaps between the words and the room between the beats create a wonderful negative musical space which, in that less is more sort of way, makes it land even more powerfully.
And by contrast Modern King is a gentle piano ballad…of sorts…one that uses its restraint and understatement as a powerful weapon, one which cocoons itself in strange electronic textures and again wields its lyrical intent like a stiletto knife. And again, it is the ability to pile one layer of angst and anticipation on another, over and over again which makes the song stand out. To be fair it is this way of composing and constructing which is the hallmark of the whole album.
The minimalism of the title track is the perfect way to end, a reminder that sometimes we have to be brave enough to stand alone, to follow our own path and do things for ourselves. Opinions of The People is not only an album about being different, it is an album made through being different. Grand, wide-screen, imaginative and long overdue.