Review: Sofi Tukker – Dancing on the People
National Music Reviews
Dancing on the People
Sofi Tukker = Toy-Box + Donna Missal + Zhu
Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern make up the house/EDM duo Sofi Tukker. Sofi Tukker rose to fame when the track “Best Friend” from their debut album Treehouse was used in an Apple promotional campaign. With a Grammy nomination under their belt for Treehouse, Sofi Tukker release the EP Dancing on the People. The EP is a follow-up that has six dance club tracks that have a hint of a ’90s dance club vibe within it.
Dancing on the People starts with the track “Swing.” Sharp, deep violin chords start the track off with intensity before it fades into a mid-tempo pulsating beat with Sofi Tukker’s haunting voices singing in Portuguese. Sofi Tukker is well known for adapting Brazilian poems into songs. However, on this track, they collaborated with Brazilian poet Chacal for the lyrics. The song feels like a chant which is pulled off well with the hypnotic ‘ohs’ that Sofi sings in between the chorus that keeps the track solid.
“Playa Grande” is a track that stood out to me because of the use of three languages throughout it. The Colombian band Bomba Estéreo features on the track, and both Sofi Tukker’s and Bomba Estereo’s voices mesh well together as the song transitions from Spanish to English to Portuguese over a tropical beat. Hawley-Weld’s voice sounds organic in three different languages without sounding tacky over the trance-like wavy electronic beat. The song quiets down as Hawley-Weld sings in Portuguese, which emphasizes the language beautifully. This is a track I’d imagine playing if I were to walk into a dance club in a different country.
There are two slow tracks on Dancing on the People, “Ringless” and “Fantasy,” that are both filled with deep emotion. “Fantasy” was the first single that was released. Hawley-Weld sings “I hate when you can resist me / Don’t step on my fantasy / Don’t come to life” over a soft, melodic beat. Her voice is soulful, almost as if she’s pleading her emotions through her voice. “Ringless” has a nostalgic ring throughout as it starts off with a rain-like beat as Hawley-Weld’s voice fills up with emotion. What I did not like about “Ringless” is that the ending is abrupt, which kills the momentum of the track.
The first eight seconds of the track “Purple Hat” are interesting as a soft melody plays before Halpern comes in with vocals repeating the words “Purple hat / Cheetah print / Dancing on the people,” with different variations before Hawley-Weld joins in with a raspy voice over the repetitive beat. “Like This” ends the EP and is my favorite track with the playfulness between Hawley-Weld and Halpern. “I’m far too reckless to have just one drink / True.” You can feel the fun they had while recording the track with the small banter they have throughout. The chorus consists of Hawley-Weld asking Halpern “Like This” in question form while the latter responds in fact form. If you listen closely, you’ll hear the tune strong and loud when Halpern responds and the tune goes low every time Hawley-Weld asks. It’s what makes the track so catchy with the basic two-step beat that is used.
Sofi Tukker know how to have fun with their own music, and they know how to convey their emotions using their voices. The diversity that they’ve had in their past projects continues with Dancing on the People. Every track is danceable, even when it comes to the more intimate tracks. It’s a great follow-up to Treehouse, and Dancing on the People left me wanting more. –Kimberly Portillo