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Album Review

Vulfpeck's "Mr. Finish Line"

November 14, 2017

The Michigan funk quartet Vulfpeck returns with their 3rd full-length album. The band has described their influences as  “Stuff, Muscle Shoals, The Swampers, Mother Father Sister Brother, Captain Crunch, Raisin Mini Wheats, [and] Raisin Bran,” the first four being rhythm sections/funk bands that formed in the 1970’s and the last three being breakfast cereals. Their latest album features recurring collaborator--and talented vocalist--Antwan Stanley as well as various other musicians and vocalists. If there is a word to describe Vulfpeck, it is fun; and they deliver a lot of it on this album. Their lyrics tend to be fairly tongue-in-cheek and light-hearted. Case in point, the song “Mr. Finish Line” features an interlude in which an announcer cheers on the members of the band by name as if they were on a soccer team; and the song “Captain Hook” features the line, “there's no need to steal from Marvin Gaye when the hottest hooks are public domain,” a jab at Robin Thicke who lost a lawsuit after ripping Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up.” This playful lyrical style works well with their instrumentation which tends to be equally playful and simple. The performances are not very technically impressive, but what the band lacks in complexity they make up for with consistent, clean performances and interesting arrangements. As with the rest of their projects, Vulfpeck’s bassist, Joe Dart, really shines here delivering smooth hooks. Other highlights include the song “Hero Town” which features a great drum and saxophone performances from Michael Bland and Joey Dosik respectively. At just thirty-five minutes the album doesn’t overstay it’s welcome, ending before becoming too repetitive. If you go into this album expecting a pleasant time with some quirkiness you will not be disappointed. Written by: Cameron Armand

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