Nica – Tangents

Genre: Pop
Released: Oct 2018
Reviewed by: Benedict Roff-Marsh

Unigon Plane is 7 months old now and this is the first time I have felt that I could review a Pop record. I love Pop. I grew up in an era of great Pop, the early 80’s. I also loved DJing in 1998 with Spice Girls, Aqua, Cher… Sadly “modern” Pop has become a very tortured thing indeed.

Our aim here is to present things that we think are worth considering for your collection. If I wouldn’t put it in mine, I doubt you would consider it for yours. This record is uneven but there are some rather nice moments.

I hit play on this record more in-hope than expecting anything. I can’t remember which track played but straight away I’m reminded of “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” by Rose Royce – or I’m Talking (Kate Cebrano) here in Oz. In her best moments, Nica manages to hit this territory.

The tightest moment is definitely the song “Right 4 U”. Despite the Prince style of titling, this song is well done. There is a really universal lyric with push & pull, call & response. They generally don’t write em like this anymore. “Ain’t No Life” is very similar in this regard and a joy of a song. A career launcher even. If you are feeling a bit unsure with the earlier material then skip straight to this track and let the album roll from there.

Nica seems to be a protege or project of one Jon Mario under his “dayxnight” banner. Sadly there is no proper supporting material. Soundcloud is not a place to help people get to know your vision better. Other links don’t work but seem to point to a sample or beat selling site. Fans don’t want this, they want the Artist & Album with supporting material. I do hope Jon can fix this lest he strangles his best asset.

There are some production issues here that do chip some of the nail polish off this record. “Ain’t No Life” runs out of puff and simply stops rather than finishing properly. Sad because that reduces the desire to go again. There is some Rapping from guests here. Fine as it suits the overall space of the record but the Rappers are uneven. I don’t expect Rappers to sing as well as a singer but they should still deliver as well in their own specialty or it comes unglued a bit. Nothing is terrible enough to can the record alone but overall it may be enough to stop someone like me who loves a track or two from going all-in.

I think more care in what makes songs timeless, provides depth of impact to balance out the fashionable elements, can take the next Nica record from promising to fabulous, must have territory. That and proper supporting material. Right now the record feels like people amusing themselves and self-proving how cool they are instead of reaching out to me as a fan.

I don’t own a lot like this at all but these are spaces that might just help you place the timeless parts of Nica’s “Tangents”. En Vogue because they mixed Hip Hop with Soul (Street Soul). Like me, many reviewers found it an uneven and heavy-handed record but it had its moments. Rose Royce simply for that song, they also had to work out how to balance the Disco fashion with songs that could last. Sade because there are few who have done the Smooth Soul thing as well as Ms. Adu. That I put her here tho is a testament to my hope that Nica (and her production team) can find that extra finesse in the songwriting & delivery.

Please, give “Tangents” a few twirls and if it grows on you (I find it grows on me) then encourage a next record by buying this one.