Joyful Death, the newest release from London-based SONIKKU, is a phoenix rising from the ashes. Tony Donson, the artist behind the pop-oozing debut album, describes the tracks as a “farewell of sorts, perhaps, but with an emphatic rebirth at its heart”. As we sit in our homes, reminiscing of raves past, we are faced with the reality that the music scene will need to change drastically for the time being. In a similar fashion, Donson distills his own eighties and nineties-heavy influences to manifest something new for us out of familiar undertones; a fusion of Madonna, Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue, Lady Gaga, and his Sega MegaDrive that forces you to your feet.
In addition to pulling inspiration from a variety of stars past, the album is studded with contemporary leaders: LIZ and SOPHIE, who come together on the strong track “Sweat – SOPHIE Remix”. This last song and veritable banger pushes the 9 tracks deep into a dance-worthy arena. Douglas Dare, Albertina, Little Boots, Chester Lockhart, and Tyler Matthew Oyer also join in this collaboration-filled 40 minutes.
Donson is a regular DJ in the queer collective Adonis, but hopes to pursue more live shows in the future. He names Joyful Death as the kind of music he’s always wanted to make – a mash-up of songs both tearful and cheerful, in a cohesive collection Italo disco, synth, and classic sounds that shows off his ability to reign over the genre in a novel way. If you’re searching for some new party anthems, look no further. We will just have to accept this version of ‘party’ in our reimagined and distanced life.