Album First Look: “King & Queen” by Team Sweatwave
Team Sweatwave Takes the Next Step in the Sweatwave Evolution
By: Dennis Gruetter
I continue to be interested in new things that seem old and old things that seem new.—Jaquelin T. Robertson
We've all seen those 80s workout memes. The comedy team Key and Peele pretty much nailed the cheesy aesthetic of too tight spandex and pump it up antics in their much famous Aerobics Meltdown skit. Poking fun at the 1980s nowadays can almost be considered a national pastime. With it's over the top imagery the 1980s certainly had more than its fair share of cringe worthy moments. I should know, I lived through it.
When I heard that Team Sweatwave is going to be putting out an all sweatwave album, I honestly did not know what to expect. Sweatwave is such a tiny subset of the synthwave scene, it's hard to think about any contribution that would really move the genre forward. So when I finally was able to listen to "King & Queen", one of the first tracks from the yet to be named album I was taken aback. I was completely prepared to hear a bunch of tongue in cheek references to leg warmers and hot hunks pumping iron. What I got instead was something completely different.
What I had heard with my own ears was nothing short of amazing. While "King and Queen" has an element of that sweatwave sound, it somehow manages to spin itself into something completely new and unexpected.
The lyrics and vocals behind the song was written and performed by an artist that goes by the name Polemic Heart. If you are unfamiliar with his work, imagine if a group of aliens came to earth in the 1980s and formed a rock band. Polemic Heart would be their front man. His talents in lyrics writing and unique vocal performance put "King & Queen" in a new category of music I honestly couldn't even begin to define.
"King & Queen" pushes past all of the things you have come to know about the sweatwave genre. The song is a sincere story of an average Joe's best effort of courting the love of his life. This average Joe has "a lot to give" and he believes he has "a lot to say." In his plea, he promises that they will live like "King & Queen" in their own little courtyard if she said yes. Somehow Polemic Heart has taken a genre so ripe with 80s cheese and crafted it into a heartwarming song about love and hope. It has taken everything I knew about the sweatwave genre and turned it on its side.
"King & Queen" is not just about charming lyrics. The production value is top notch with some really great sounds under the hood. Yoru and Turbo Knight also make major contributions with the overall sound production and Starquake Synthmaster delivers some really excellent guitar work.
As a whole, Team Sweatwave is comprised up of several synthwave artists who are certainly no strangers in the synthwave scene. Turbo Knight, Yoru, Polemic Heart, Gryff, and Dimi Kaye each add their own unique contributions to the project. Along with that, there are even more contributions from talented artists like Starquake Synthmaster and Mandi Mae.
"King & Queen" is just the first track on their yet to be named sweatwave album. I have been fortunate to hear some of the songs and I can certainly assure you that this album is no gimmick. While the album mostly stays the course laid down by previous artists in the genre, it adds it's own unique twists throughout. Every song I have heard so far feels fresh and takes on its own personality.
One particular track and possibly my favorite track goes by the working title "R.O.t.T." Listening to it evokes images of every single 80s training montage I have ever seen. It's a "take it to the limit" running track that is brimming with energy. This track featuring the powerful vocals of Gryff will have you wanting to run through your neighborhood in no time. It's a great track for anyone wanting to push themselves to that extra mile.
Team Sweatwave is still fleshing out much of the album, but from what I have heard so far it sounds amazing. While we wait for the next drip from these sweat enthusiasts, it's nice to know you will be able to get your hands on "King & Queen" very soon.
For anyone looking for an introduction to sweatwave, I found this incredible YouTube playlist right here. Until next time.. We'll see ya at the gym!
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