Let's be honest 2020 for all its failings excelled in something, new album & track releases. Most reviewers, bloggers, influencers would all collectively say that they have been creaking under the shear megaton weight of submissions received whether solicited or not. It's akin to Henry the VIII at a buffet table.
Every now and then though whilst you're sifting through the pay dirt you'll find a shiny golden nugget or two. Enter 'Swayze' our 2020 Tony Manero giving us all the Disco Finger (it's a thing, look it up), with that funk flair.
Make no mistake about it, whilst panning for new releases it would be foolhardy not to mention 'The Beginning' by this remarkable new talent. Why? Well (A) it's confident arrangements and his unassailable production chops and (B) well I have no answer because (A) was so great!
To be fair it's an incredible feat for a musician that has really only been in the Synth game for just over a year! But as we all know it's quality not quantity that rules the Synth roost right?
Art by Nick Prinzing
The Synth connoisseurs among you would have heard some of the tracks found on this album floating around in the neon ether with intent as far back as April 2019 and you'd be right.. NERDS!
Let's slice up this slab of funk beef shall we? We'll start at.....
Straight out of the gate is 'Overdrive' - This track will pull up to your front door with the top down, has Summer in the trunk and your getting in. It just doesn't play it struts. You'll might find yourself dirty dancing to its shear brilliance with wild abandon. I have to say the track starts for me when the beat itself drops at 1.11 minutes in and Swayze's silky vocal slides into the DMs of your ear cavities. Full disclosure this track has been around for awhile and is one of the tasty treats he gave us last year. Back then I knew he was one to watch and I love to say I told ya so!
"I've got no problem with that backseat loving as long as its with you" - A naughty lyric by any stretch of the imagination but as long as its not a vintage 'Peel P50' you'll be fine Swayze!
Doin' the boogaloo up next we have 'Sidewalk' Track 2. Taking it on down to Skatetown. Here we have Swayze writing checks his funk CAN cash! If you listen closely you can almost hear Nile Rodgers groaning under the weight of the competition as Swayze serves the funk piping hot. It's another one of those little peeks into his consciousness he released in 2019 and it did well with the critics even then!
By the way have you ever tried reading a book at night? It's a pure waste of time, I'm so glad someone mentioned it.
Track 3 is 'Your love is like a lone wolf'. It leans a little heavier on the Synths for this one and is a track full of attack and intent. The vocal comes across as purposeful as you like and it's delivery surfs in on those synths that force you to listen to each word intently. It's a stinging rebuke of an ex that lets face it didn't know what she had till it was gone. Lyrically it punches harder than Mike Tyson towards the end of Round 1. There's an element of laying the relationship ghost to rest in this one and hey we've all been there, just not as funky as Swayze does it!
'Nothing to me' is track 4 and is by far the most retro 80's sounding from bar 1. Dare I say it but it has those early Michael Jacksonesque grooves you can't help but dip a shoulder to! It's quite clever and will no doubt live rent free in my brain for awhile. A contender for my favourite track on the album, a beast of a track...sorry 'Overdrive', it's not you its me!
No. 5 is 'A Little Story' It's a track that pulls up in a convertible Lamborghini and throws you the keys whilst it struts off with two blondes on either arm. It's a confident number that seeps into your bloodstream to such an extent that after your 6th listen your intoxicated enough to allow it pull you onto the dance floor by the piano tie. I like it, whether I like it as much as the other songs that preceded it it's hard to tell but I'm willing to give it a go.
The remaining tracks on the album are just as entertaining. 'Oh Jenni' slows the pace down and for all intents and purposes serves as a what if moment based on a romance that may or may not have happened with Swayze and his love interest in Dirty Dancing. He doesn't put his pickle on just anyone's plate!!
'The Beginning', the title track ends the album perfectly. If you where a little hesitant on Swayze's lyrical ability this track will kick you out the door like a metaphorical John Dalton. It punches well above it's weight and leaves you wanting more, great thing about that is all you have to do is press play!
In all seriousness, the album is a testament to what hard work and dedication can do when every fiber of your being screams to be a musician. For a debut album it can't get much better, which in itself is a task as I'd wager there'd be a higher expectation level for subsequent releases but the world awaits...
It's an album we didn't know we needed in this B movie of a year, it's just under an hour of pure unassailable groove just free you mind and your ass will follow!
Favourite Track(s): The Beginning & Nothing to me
Least Favourite: N/A