Ronika – ‘Selectadisc’

Nottingham singer gives her obvious '80s influences a fresh twist

It’s impossible not to mention the ’80s when talking about Ronika. The Nottingham-born singer, real name Veronica Sampson, has been described as “the Madonna Of The Midlands” for a good reason. Her debut album is stuffed with more analogue synth sounds, vintage drum machines and spangly pop melodies than a Sunday evening spent listening to Forgotten ’80s on Absolute ’80s wearing neon leg warmers. There’s more to ‘Selectadisc’ than some retro trip, however. Ronika puts old sounds into a new context. The faraway, chopped-up vocals on ‘Wiyoo’ have shades of Burial, while ‘In The City’’s bassline is an on-trend nod to classic house. And while the “get it gotta get it” refrain in ‘What’s In Your Bag’ is pure Tom Tom Club, it’s paired with blaring synths and a modern, bumping R’n’B beat. There’s a breeziness to some of it – particularly the lightweight ‘Believe It’ – that means it fails to linger in the memory, but on the whole Ronika has done something clever: worn her retro influences proudly, but also repurposed them for 2014.

Chris Cottingham