Ladonna Rama presents a futuristic sultry dance-infused grandeur on the intense energy of “Animals”. The title fits the sound perfectly for there is an animalistic yearning that underpins the whole of the sound. From the throb of the bass to the propulsive energy of the drums, it is all there. By far though the true highlight and star of the show are Ladonna’s vocals. Conveying so much fire and passion, their delivery is flawlessly executed. Verses are carefully crafted for maximum impact and the way they hit feels outright gorgeous. Over the course of the album, she captures the divinity of the dance floor doing so with an almost religious fervor.
A glossy finish to the sound recalls Sophie’s deft skill at twisting and contorting the very foundations of pop. Her artificial, almost post-dance ethos additionally draws from that tradition as the grooves feel timeless. Rhythms here touch upon of course dance, house music, funk, and a particularly physical electro. The intense workouts bring to mind some of Róisín Murphy’s surreal takes on disco, for the beat never stops. Lyrics draw from the same sort of fun sexuality best displayed by Peaches and Chicks on Speed, both of whom she has performed with. Her approach neatly fits into that tradition one of an almost libertine experience in which nothing is off limits. With this defiant stance the whole of the album unfurls with an unexpected grandeur.
The stark open of the title track “Animals” sets the tone for what follows featuring a multi-faceted approach that swirls around the listener like a great nebulous cloud. Warped vocals and arpeggios get twisted in fantastically origami-inspired ways with “Zentai Suit”. Minimalist yet sleek the potent “Scream Louder” features some wonderful tactile percussive elements that add to its undeniable communal ethos. Easily the highlight comes from the wild unhinged spirit of “Move Your Body”. As someone who grew up with tons of tracks with this exact title, I often listened vaguely disappointed that they did not fulfill their promise. Ladonna’s track proves the opposite – I dare anybody listening to the track not to be inspired to move. The song simply stuns as the many layers radiate such a luxurious cadence, for the positively of the piece is a true joy. Unfortunately, on the following track “Stuck in the Groove” the dancehall spirit sort of sputters a bit with a lower level of energy and less inspiration.
Expansive with dub-like affects come into the mix on the spacious scope of “Dirty Mirror” for there is a dreamy-eyed hue to the sound. The fantastic buildup of “Akuma” is pure bliss as the heavy-hitting bass adds to the disorienting delirious aspect of the piece. “Fragile” strips things down to the essentials as a classical kick enters into the atmosphere, with beautiful blooms of color giving the song a trippy quality. A gorgeous finale emerges on the stellar almost spiritual “Deliver Me” which neatly ties together all that came before it.
Pure pop decadence done right; Ladonna Rama’s “Animals” is a feral frenzied take on dance music one that celebrates the inherent physicality of the groove.