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Review: Rollergirl – Rollergirl

Posted on the 17 December 2013 by Doughnutmag

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While not strictly constructed of only original parts, this sample-heavy nu-disco album upholds that same buoyant dance quality that you’d expect from the floor-fillers of the 70s and the often overlooked 80s.

Produced by Adam Rich of Athens, Ohio, this self-titled biscuit is as funky as it is inventive, like an extended Soul Train Line freestyle, with the roller-disco theme weaving in and out and tying it all together.

Released via Bandcamp with LPs for sale via the Nah Collective (complete with limited edition hand printed sleeves), it does contain a little something beyond the 70s with smacks of modern electronic and club music behind the banging of glamorous, rose-gold nostalgia.

Rollergirl – ‘Waves’

The curious thing about this release is that each track feels like a remix of a single song rather than a fusion of various sources (even though there are other elements such as Rich’s additive live bass guitar and synth, or dialog sampled from the 1960 film Where the Boys Are, on ‘Waves’).

An example of almost like-for-like remixes (or re-edits) would be ‘Skater Lady’. The main inspiration for the track comes from ‘Roller Skatin’ Mate’, by Peaches & Herb, which Rich found in a crate at Reckless Records in Chicago (which I hear is the record store featured in the film High Fidelity). “Saw it, put it on when I got home, and had to make it mine!” he says.

After listening to this album for well over two weeks, it is a definite triumph. It’s sharp and it’s groovy, but there’s room for Rich to reach deeper into the bargain bin in future Rollergirl releases. There was a huge amount of disco vinyl pressed in the last quarter of the 20th century, so deviation from the anthems should be easy.

‘Music’, for instance, is a solid staccato re-edit of George Benson’s ‘Give Me The Night’. It’s well arranged, though the purists may have trouble digesting it due to the repetitiveness of such a classic.

Granted, the original and the Rollergirl version can exist side by side as separate works of art, but the new rendition tends to wears a little thin after the halfway point while Benson’s original endures.

I suspend the logic of this criticism to the hash tag emblazoned ‘#billyocean’ though. Ocean’s ‘Caribbean Queen’ is chopped and tossed like some kind of funk salad, there’s something about this version that is as spectacular as the original. Take a look at this simple but effective video for the standout single, directed by Willem Holzer…

Who says disco is dead? In a year that brought Nile Rogers, Giorgio Moroder and Bootsy Collins firmly back into the limelight, soul and groove clearly still have a place in our hearts, and this sprightly re-incarnation some 40 years later is re-purposing the essence of the thing for a younger audience to enjoy.

RollergirlRollergirl's self-titled nu-disco album upholds that same buoyant quality that you’d expect from floor-fillers of the 70s and the often-overlooked 80s.RollergirlWritten by: Damian BurkeDate Published: 12/16/2013Rollergirl's self-titled nu-disco album upholds that same buoyant quality that you’d expect from floor-fillers of the 70s and the often-overlooked 80s.7.5 / 10 stars

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