Electro Swing is a woman! Album review: Various Artists – “Swing Sisters”
When I started creating my series of reviews for Electro Swing Thing, I didn’t expect that I would so quickly gain the sympathy and support of the Electro Swing family. Every day when my new text is published, I feel that my work is appreciated and I have a real impact on promoting this music genre.
It’s kind of funny because in my family the majority are women. I have a lot of aunts, sisters, cousins and nieces. Now I know that this group has grown considerably: thanks to the new album “Swing Sisters” released by Prohibition, which I will tell you a little bit about today.
I just love the original 1985 version of this song (performed by Annie Lennox of Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin). “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves” by Emma Clair not only transports us into a colourful Electro Swing world, but also provides us with a solid dose of strength and power – also thanks to the energising vocals of the fantastic Alanna Lyes. This track is so incredibly danceable that it would surely rock many parties – especially ladies nights. In my mind’s eye I can see myself and my friends with prosecco in hand and of course “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves” in the speakers.
With the song being released on World Women’s Day, it was a fantastic gift for us all. And today it makes a great introduction to the “Swing Sisters” album. Because the strength is in us, my dear ladies!
Why do I love Electro Swing so much? Although it originated in Europe, the genre has made its way to America, and many artists are eager to create new songs in this style. Kumiho has joined the ranks of the Swing Sisters and from the very first notes she entices us with her captivating vocals, accompanied by a strong beat, scrolling brass instruments and a disco tempo. Her jazzy, emotional voice can make you completely drift away. But not too far away, because on “Swing Sisters” you will find many more such gems!
Did you know that the Italian language fascinated me to the point that I decided to start learning it? “Bambola” (which means “doll”, of course) was one of the first words I learned. Surely you already know what Rosantique is about to sing about (it’s actually an Electro Swing cover, as “La Bambola” was originally performed by Patty Pravo. The song was produced in… 1968!). The metaphor of a doll appearing in the music directly points to objectification. Rosantique with her delicate but firm voice categorically opposes such treatment. In this song I really like the typical Electro Swing mixes – especially the ones that emphasise the last words in a phrase. This makes the song have a really strong message: of course, for those who know Italian or have Google Translator at hand. :)
I have already had the opportunity to write about Madam Misfit when reviewing “Lollipop”(which she recorded with Crazy Red Balls) and “The Wombling Song”. I don’t think I need to repeat myself that I love it when she raps to a swing hop rhythm. In the song “Don’t Girl” we can also listen to how beautifully she sings! And as usual, she conveys a lot of truth and wisdom to us in the lyrics of the song. Each of us is completely different, has different needs and is guided by different values. If you want, be free, because you are nobody’s property – the most important thing is that you do everything according to yourself and your conscience!
Be sure to listen to the brilliant trumpet solo, which is really long. I find it very satisfying because, as you know very well, I love the sound of the brass section. I can safely say that this is one of my favourite songs from the “Swing Sisters” album.
I feel like this song is about almost every Friday night I have! “You’ve been working way too hard, it’s time to shake it off” is a verse I totally identify with. Apart from writing reviews for you, I also have a full-time job at a Polish record label and two additional copywriting/editing jobs. It’s fair to say I work really hard and Friday or Saturday evenings are the only times I can really chill out! So there’s nothing stopping you getting ready with your friends for a night out on the town, starting the evening by getting ready together to the sounds of “Hey Sister”. Emma Clair, as usual, gives us a big dose of Electro Swing samples, and Dani Milano with her delicate, subtle voice timidly invites us to the dance floor. I will definitely take up this invitation. And you?
Do you also have it so that you are often able to tell from the first sounds of a song whether you like it? I did in this case. Natalie Nightingale rocked me from the moment she started singing! It’s a really perfect follow-up to the previous song, “Hey Sister”. Now you can rock out on the dance floor while sipping your favourite drink and enjoy every moment of this song. There are a whole lot of energetic elements hidden in “Dancing Shoes”, which are guaranteed by a fantastic brass section. I can assure you that this song can brighten up even the most cloudy day. That’s how I feel about it.
Time to pick up the pace a bit! This song is totally different from the other songs from the “Swing Sisters” album. Be prepared for a total mish-mash: Emma Clair, MARIA from Dutty Moonshine Big Bang and Tallulah Goodtimes invite us on a wild journey through a city bustling with nightlife. When I first heard “Running Wild”, I wondered for a long time how the girls came up with the idea to combine psychedelic vocals, Electro Swing and rhythmic rapping. As you can see, they managed to do it quite well. And with what fantastic class! So, which of you wants to put on your pearls and rock your city with style and class? :)
How I love the swing intro in this song! It reminds me a bit of a classic of the genre – “It Don’t Mean a Thing” (surely you know that quite recently a cover of this song created by Wolfgang Lohr was performed by The Hebbe Sisters). Blush Fox Trio, thanks to their fantastically complementary vocals, totally transport us to the 1930s. Their voices are perfectly synchronised, delicate and silky clean. “Play It Hot” introduces a unique atmosphere to the whole album, in which I find myself just perfectly. I hope you will also be mesmerized by these sonorous female vocals!
I have a confession to make to you: unfortunately, I’m not the biggest fan of the house genre. But to be 100% honest, I’d love to go to a party where Emma Clair would be rocking it. She intertwines Electro Swing motifs with house so well that many DJs could envy her imagination. In “Disco Swing” she is also accompanied by Alanna Lyes, who doesn’t sing this time. It’s a pity, because I would love to hear one more song performed by her. Fortunately, both you and I can satisfy this shortage: Alanna is releasing her album soon, so you’ll still have time to lose yourself in her hypnotic vocals!
I don’t want to introduce political elements into my reviews, but in this case I think I have to. In Poland, for several years now, women have regularly had to fight for their rights on the streets at protests – this should absolutely not happen in the 21st century. The men in the government (and unfortunately also some women…) want to decide about our choices, about our bodies. It’s awful. This fantastic album gives me encouragement and hope that we can always take matters into our own hands. Music with a message – that’s something I love. And even if you think you’re alone with your problem, there are sisters behind your back just waiting to extend a helping hand. All you have to do is not be ashamed to accept that help. I hope that the “Swing Sisters” album will motivate you to act, and that through it you will find your inner strength and power. I wish you this with all my heart, my dear (not only swing) sisters! :)
Written & reviewed by LadyDot (Ja, Wizeruk) Date: 2021-10-16
Anna (LadyDot) was born in ’94, but always felt she came from the Golden Twenties. “Polka” in Polish means “girl from Poland”, so she’s “Polka in polka dots”. She loves vintage style and spontaneous travels around Europe. But her greatest love (apart from her husband) is of course music, especially Electro Swing.
On her own Blog www.jawizeruk.pl she writes about various music genres. She is a copywriter, so writing is her strong point. Anna likes singing (not only in the shower!) and cooking (especially Italian and Hungarian cuisine).