Sonikku release their new LP Joyful Death via Bella Union. “I love songs that make you want to cry and dance at the same time,” says Tony Donson, the London-based musician who records as
Sonikku. That sense of unfettered release and liberation drives his new album, Joyful Death. A fluent, fertile and full-colour hybrid of vibrant Italo-house, liquid synth-pop, righteous disco and French philosophical asides, it’s an album that signals the emergence proper of Sonikku – a fully formed dancefloor artist. It’s also a farewell of sorts, perhaps, but with an emphatic rebirth at its heart.
A fully realised, coherent pop record that showcases my craft as a song-writer and producer.” Total control of his craft is swiftly asserted on Let the Light In, where the influences of lost-in-music disco and the Pet Shop Boys merge under vocals from immersive, exploratory British singer-songwriter Douglas Dare. The pace accelerates as WKND gets into a groove pitched somewhere between Madonna, Daft Punk and Indeep, with LA future-pop singer LIZ primed for dancefloor abandon on vocals. Meanwhile, Sonikku’s independent intent is firmly asserted on the freestyle-inspired Don’t Wanna Dance with You, where singer Aisha Zoe coolly brushes off unwanted advances in favour of dancefloor pleasures. Liz assumes vocal duties again for Sweat, a song fully equipped to make dancefloor devotees do as its title suggests. Dreamily melodic evidence of Sonikku’s dynamism (and love of melancholy Swedish electro-pop queen Robyn) beckons on X Hopeless Romantic, where Little Boots contributes a sweetly loved-up vocal over a sublimely infectious chorus. Pummelling synths signal a dramatic shift of pace on the almost electro-darkwave dash of Remember to Forget Me, where actor/singer Chester Lockhart presides over a summit meeting between Depeche Mode and New Order. Performance artist Tyler Matthew Oyer takes the vocals for the Italo-disco-inspired title-track, a vividly imagined album manifesto – of sorts – inspired to varying degrees by an 1892 poem, French thinker Gilles Deleuze’s concept of the “body without organs” and a 1997 anime called The End of Evangelion. Finally, that grand piano takes over as Dare returns, presiding over an achingly stripped-back version of Remember to Forget Me.
Joyful Death is a hugely confident and self-contained leap forward for Sonikku.