Sweat is a solid blast of fun that shows why Five Alarm Funk, on album number six and decade number two, are still a force with which to be reckoned.
In a promo video for Sweat, Five Alarm Funk vocalist and drummer Tayo Branston explained the band's routine: "We write all winter, go on tour in the summer, get all the material super locked down, and then hit the studio." The precision of that schedule gives a peek behind Five Alarm Funk’s creative curtain. Despite being a genre-bending, free-flowing outfit that exudes spontaneous energy onstage, there's a mechanical, professional work ethic behind their grooves.
Sweat, Five Alarm Funk's sixth album, is no exception. “Widowmaker” is a swervy blast of horn-driven funk, while "DDPP" is made for live-show shout-alongs. Throughout, the horns are absolutely scene-stealing, infusing the album with a steady, brassy energy. Branston's vocals are mainly texture—a semi-colon to connect groovy clauses. The guttural vocal blasts of “DDPP”, which cap off a list of percussion instruments with “Dance, dance, party, party!” propel that track’s energy, though not all examples are equally successful: "Gods (May the Funk Be with You)" interpolates a Catholic Mass call-and-response in a way that feels more forced. But overall, Sweat is a solid blast of fun that shows why Five Alarm Funk, on album number six and decade number two, are still a force with which to be reckoned.