SOFI TUKKER Sophomore Album, ‘Wet Tennis’ Review

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SOFI TUKKER has taken the world by storm with their intoxicatingly glossy blend of striking electropop with worldwide influences that always takes brilliant and unexpected turns, leaving the listener on the edge of their seat, if not lifted off it. ‘Wet Tennis’ is the follow-up to their GRAMMY-nominated debut, and it will be released at midnight today via Ultra/Sony Music.

The album is a celebration of self-determination, claiming your right to pleasure, and breaking free from external limitations. Nothing Negative Is Safe When Everyone Tries to Evolve is the title’s acronym. It’s about letting go of minor concerns and vices in order to pursue happiness. Whatever difficulties the duo confronts throughout the record, they quickly return to stubborn optimism; it’s a story of ecstasy correcting human folly, of delight outdoing our inevitability. ‘Wet Tennis’ was written over the course of three years and is a monument to the duo’s perseverance and dedication to their fans, The Freak Fam.

Pre-Save/Pre-Order WET TENNIS

SOFI TUKKER’s livestreams became a daily ceremonial when attending events in person became impossible. Sophie and Tucker were able to communicate with their fans in real-time, testing and collecting feedback on concepts that would eventually become WET TENNIS, a collection of songs written for and with their fans. Tennis is extensively featured in the album’s artwork. The game portrays Soph and Tuck constantly striking ideas back and forth in their writing process, with the overlapping tennis rackets representing their brain’s Venn diagram. They have extremely different interests, yet where their rackets collide is SOFI TUKKER’s sweet spot.

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The album is defined by its wetness, with each track feeling as if it has just emerged from a warm pool, oozing with an alluring sensuality. Whether they’re having fun or being serious, the record never loses a beat, floating through a sleek, dewy world with them as the only appropriate guides.

To commemorate the album’s release, SOFI TUKKER will perform live from NYC at 11:30 p.m. EST. Fans all over the world can watch the performance live on Amazon Music and Twitch. Link: https://www.twitch.tv/amazonmusic

The album’s lead single “Summer in New York” is a guided tour of SOFI TUKKER’s NYC, and it marks a full-circle moment for the duo as they return to the city after spending the previous few years in West Palm Beach. Above all, it’s a dedication to their city: the birthplace of SOFI TUKKER, the home that welcomed them straight out of college and provided inspiration for their early work.

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Sophie’s favorite is Miss Favela in Brooklyn, where Brazilian music and food reign supreme, Tucker’s tattoo parlor Bang Bang, The Knocks’ Chrystie St studio where “Drinkee” was recorded, The Box, and much more. To connect all that is thrilling about the city past and present, the song incorporates the hook from Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner,” an NYC staple. In a moment of collective consciousness, a TikTok cover of “Tom’s Diner” has gone viral, introducing the song to a new generation of dream chasers alongside “Summer in New York.”

SOFI TUKKER exists to mess with and upend expectations, as the first track and most recent single “Kakee” demonstrates. The song is a tribute to female pleasure with a tongue-in-cheek persimmon metaphor, sung entirely in Portuguese by Sophie Hawley-Weld. What could have easily been fast-paced dance music becomes a euphoric frolic filled with wonderfully cool guitar and post-punk intensity, transforming it into a spectacular concoction only the duo could have concocted.

The video for “Kakee” was shot in Hawaii and is packed with visual double entendres that match the lyrics. Squeezed persimmons gush and stream everywhere, resulting in an overjoyed Sophie laying in a field. It was directed by Aerin Moreno, with creative direction from Amber Park and styling by Johnny Wujek, the same people who worked on the video for “Original Sin.”

“Original Sin” instantly takes a different turn, beginning with Tucker Halpern’s depressing comments, delivered in a virtually monotone manner to emphasize their crushing force. He’s accompanied by a gently strummed guitar, then pulsating synths and bass, all before Sophie joins the conflict with her own rebuttal, much to his chagrin. There’s one thing they can agree on: “So I think you’ve got somethin’ wrong with you / something’s not right with me, too.” It speaks for all of us barely concealing a mess beneath a calm facade. On another level, it’s a rejection of sin itself: none of us can be saints. Belying the existential woe of the lyricism, the song itself pulsates with life, hooking its talons in instantly and never letting go.

The music video for “Original Sin” is steeped in playful sexuality and introduces the cheerful and seductive iconography of WET TENNIS. In classic SOFI TUKKER form, the video was shot in Oahu, Hawaii, in a tropical locale radiating lush greens and sunlight.

Sophie begs for forgiveness and the return of someone she’s lost in “Forgive Me,” no matter the cost (“I’ll just let you yell at me all you want”). SOFI TUKKER and Turkish DJ Mahmut Orhan have transformed a desperate act into something both addictive and global. It’s about true forgiveness’s ultimate power and surrender. The video was shot on location in Istanbul at Evcik Beach and Kilyos Beach.

The title track, “WET TENNIS,” begins with an intro that sounds like a parade in New Orleans (though the track was recorded in Miami with a group of Latin-American musicians), before expanding into a sexy guitar and horn-driven extravaganza, a sexy affair that will have you reaching for your partner or seeking out the nearest equally, shall we say, driven individual.

The second track is a brief Interlude, but it allows SOFI TUKKER to show off another side of their talent, with Sophie singing soothingly over a sparse musical backdrop, with only her voice and guitar strumming. It’s a lovely, peaceful prelude to the painful drama of “Sun Came Up.” The song, which features electronic musician John Summit, depicts the story of one of those fortuitous meets that become simply unforgettable. It all starts with a glimpse at a party, then a shared laugh, and finally it all culminates in the kind of night that is all too rare in this world. As Sophie sings, “You and I danced until the sun came up,” she manages to capture and bottle that very feeling.

“Larry Bird” appears to be playing a whole different game. SOFI TUKKER took a mostly instrumental and Tropicália approach, relying on thundering bass and steel drums to carry the load. It’s a triumph for Tucker’s father, Tuck, and a personal moment for Tucker, who grew up idolizing Bird (Sophie even sings “33” in Portuguese, which is both Bird’s and Tucker’s basketball number). “You already know who’s going to win this thing,” the basketball star from whom the song takes its title says near the end of the song, establishing a comparison between his game and SOFI TUKKER.

SOFI TUKKER 'Wet Tennis' Album Review

Meanwhile, “Hold” is a little setback that leaves Sophie isolated. It grows like a vine, evolving from its austere beginnings into a downtempo song, perfect for the nightclub when it’s too dark to tell who your pals are, lost in a sea of strangers all yearning for the same thing. It’s a duality exercise, cold and warm at the same time. Adam of BOII, a guest vocalist, adds to the lonely atmosphere, as though he and Sophie are so close but just out of reach as they want something other than spending the night alone.

“Mon Cheri” is sung in a range of languages, from French to Bambara, and possesses the enticing joy that’s always inherent inside the possibility of the romance language, as its title suggests. It’s perfectly suited for an imaginary stroll through some fantastical European sojourn, driven by lively guitar and call-and-response verses alongside legendary West African duo Amadou & Mariam, all before plunging into pure ecstasy in its final minute, with a frantic, dizzying beat entering the picture. It’s tough not to smile as you go out the door.

“Freak” takes a new turn, veering between Breakbeat and something altogether new, like a Fat of the Land for the year 2022. It’s a thank you to the duo’s “pandemic fam,” who was always there for a daily dance party during the lockdown. It’s only two minutes long and over in the blink of an eye, yet it’s another deliciously surprising diversion in an album full of them.

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To round things out, SOFI TUKKER pulls back yet again, this time daring to cover “What a Wonderful World.” Here, the duo makes the song entirely their own, distilling the raw elements of SOFI TUKKER – gently plucked guitar, twinkling keys, and Sophie’s plaintive, gorgeous vocals – into something quite simply serene. It’s an oddly suitable conclusion to what turns out to be a true musical excursion.
After all the hiking in WET TENNIS, it’s only fitting that they greet us with a warm embrace.

With the release of the record, the pair has introduced a new ‘WET TENNIS’ merch line, which includes an ombre picture disc vinyl and a very limited number of autographed CDs. ‘WET TENNIS’ is available for pre-order in physical versions. Link to their website: https://sofitukker.shop.redstarmerch.com/store/

The ensemble will embark on their WET TENNIS global tour following spectacular headline sets at CRSSD, Ultra Music Festival, and their show at Belly Up Aspen, which earned $19,560 for Red Cross Ukraine. SOFI TUKKER will go on a European, Australian, and North American tour. They have added gigs in sold-out US markets due to tremendous demand. All dates are currently on sale, and the entire tour itinerary is listed below. Link: https://www.sofitukker.com/tour

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SOFI TUKKER has gold and platinum albums on every continent except Antarctica, and their global fanbase began to cluster around the streams, forming the Freak Fam. Along with group activities, The Freak Fam has aided each other in both emotional and material ways throughout this trying time. When many members of The Freak Fam’s prom were canceled and they were missing out on important events in their lives, SOFI TUKKER hosted a virtual prom and invited everyone who attended to dress in their most bizarre attire. The Freak Fam most recently took the form of Freak Fam Radio, a six-month SiriusXM radio show on Diplo’s Revolution Channel 52 that ended in March.

SOFI TUKKER SOCIALS:

Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / Soundcloud / Spotify / Apple Music / Deezer

TikTok / YouTube / Twitch / Discord


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