Mr. Finish Line: The New Vulfpeck Album

Mr.+Finish+Line%3A+The+New+Vulfpeck+Album

Jared Dubber

Flashback to 2011 at the University of Michigan, where four session musicians, Jack Stratton, Theo Katzman, Woody Goss, and Joe Dart are helping a friend finish his composition major final by writing and recording a full album. This funk infused album entitled Mit Peck was recorded in a single session, using a single condenser mic in the center of a recording studio. A few songs from this album were posted on Youtube, and with the help of the first track on the album entitled Beastly featuring an amazing bass solo by Joe Dart, the band blew up. With their newly found fans via social media, Vulfpeck became a full-blown band, posting this student project as their first EP. Two full albums and two EP’s later, we come to 2017, where they release their third studio album, Mr. Finish Line.

I loved the past Vulfpeck albums—from the instrumental tracks of Vollmilch, to the funky pop-y tracks of The Beautiful Game, so I was very excited for their 2017 release. When it was finally released on September 7th, I listened to the whole thing a couple of times in the first day. This album features many guest artist, from regulars Antwaun Stanley, Cory Wong, and Joey Dosik, to more famous names, such as Bootsy Collins, David T. Walker, Christine Hucal, Coco O., James Gadson, Michael Bland, and Charles Jones.

The album opens with the song Birds of a Feather, We Rock Together, the single that was pre-released before the album. This sets up a chill tone for the album, a difference from the usual energy-packed tone that Vulfpeck is famous for. The album continues with this chill tone, with tracks Baby I Don’t Know Oh Oh and Grandma. While the  album does contain some energetic tracks, such as Hero Town and Tee Time, the focus of this album focus more on the slower, more relaxing kind of feel.

This album is very good, don’t get me wrong. I love the smooth vocals of Joey Dosik on Running Away, it’s just not what I expect from Vulfpeck. Most of their music is very funky and energetic, most of it translating well to the stage, resulting in an amazing live show. But with the slower tracks on this album, it just doesn’t pump me up the way the other albums do, and would put a crowd to sleep if played live. So while Mr. Finish Line is a great album, and I can appreciate the music in it, it’s probably not my favorite Vulfpeck album.