It’s been almost 3 years to the month since Veronica Sampson sent across as rough cut of ‘Forget Yourself‘. Since then Ronika has been fairly, or unfairly, compared to Madonna, worked with a range of artists including Mylo and Shook, and attended Red Bull’s Music Academy. Finally this week she releases her self-made, self-produced debut album ‘Selectadisc‘.
Usually DIY efforts conjure up mental images snotty-nosed teenagers making music destined for the dusty servers of bandcamp. Thankfully this isn’t the case with Ronika’s efforts. Clearly the time spent with Mylo, and at the RBMA, hasn’t been wasted on her as ‘Selectadisc‘ sounds almost too good to be true. So much so we even posed the question: had Mylo had a hand in the production? To which Ronika responded it’s all her own work. So you can take it from us that no ghosts were harmed in the making of this album. The opening track is basically a precursor to the quality of musicianship and production-nous on offer. It’s still a stunning track, even after three years, and showcases why Ronika is such a talent thanks to snappy songwriting and her modern take on 80s flamboyant disco.
The same can also be said about ‘Only Only‘ which is a hand-clap delight, backed by another bubblegum vocal which is then sandwiched between two slices of doughy bass and a skittish breakdown. Naturally with such a flamboyant start, Ronika mixes it up a little with ‘Shell Shocked‘; part synth-pop, part gluey funk, it’s a nice change of pace and tempo. ‘In The City‘, another familiar track, continues the album’s maximalist approach – there’s just so much going on from euphoric pop chorus’ to chugging club basslines that you’ll need to listen to it several times to pick up on all the little production flourishes.
‘Clock‘ is one the album’s brand-new tracks and is one the album’s highlights, as Ronnie aims for something akin to Kraftwerk thanks, in part, to Charles Washington’s robotic vocals – but don’t be fooled Ronika is still on hand to make sure it still falls on the right side of pop. ‘Wiyoo‘, yet another fan favourite, is straight out of Nile Rodgers disco play book, backed by modern funk basslines and Ronnie vocals which, once again, take centre stage. ‘Earthrise‘ is another early favourite from the new tracks, it’s one of the few tracks that isn’t going a million miles an hour; that being said by the time you hit the last 30 seconds it does go a bit bonkers. Ronika arguably leaves the best until last with ‘Search Siren‘ which is a moody cosmic delight falling somewhere between Kate Bush and Abba.
Usually 13 tracks of unadulterated disco pop might be a little too much for some but ‘Selectadisc‘ is one of those rare albums where Ronika’s 80s influences are so well entangled with more modern, contemporary electronic influences you’ll spend literally days trying to untangle this disco rubbix cube. For a debut album, ‘Selectadisc‘ can easily stand alongside side ‘Destroy Rock And Roll‘ – it’s that good. Both came out of nowhere, both were DIY efforts and both managed to reference the best of the 80s without being a pastiche. With bland house seemingly taking over the UK charts, ‘Selectadisc‘ stands out a mile with its shiny shell suit and ghetto blaster set to 12.
HBF Rating 5/5