Album: The Beautiful Game
Artist: Vulfpeck
Label: Vulf Records
Release Date: October 17, 2016

If you’re looking for an album that will cheer you up, get you on your feet and make you want to boogie hard, then this one’s for you.

Vulfpeck is a funk band from Michigan, comprised of highly talented musicians, who focus on translating the raw, live energy of shows into their recorded tracks. Most of their songs are recorded live, with unique and hilarious video editing and amazing sound production.

Their latest album, The Beautiful Game, features several guest singers and musicians, such as Antwaun Stanley, Christine Hucal, Laura Mace, Bethanni Grecynski, Pegasus Warning, and Cory Wong. It veers more toward a pop feel.

Vulfpeck does a lot of collaborating, and stands out in the crowd because of the well-known artists they attract to record and perform with, like Cory Henry, Blake Mills, and BØRNS. The bassist of Vulfpeck, Joe Dart, is especially admired in the music community for his playing skills, funky licks, and dancing (in the band’s music videos and the live shows on their Youtube channel, which you can find by searching DJparadiddle).

The first song “The Sweet Science” is a very 1930’s depression, clarinet dixie-band, style of song —an unexpected way for Vulfpeck to start an album, given their music is usually either cheerful or funky. This song leads into the most poppy (and upbeat) track on the album, called “Animal Spirits,” which is very much the Vulfpeck that people familiarize with, and also the album’s first climax. The fifth song “El Chepe” is a real southwestern train-chuggin’ jam, filled with a mellow slide guitar lead. For a song that doesn’t really go anywhere, it is a great space to be in, taking you back in time to the old west. One of the last songs on the record, “Margery, My First Car” is a revisit of one of the band’s first songs, the instrumental, “My First Car.” The version on this album has vocals, and new musical arrangements. It keeps the bizarre bass solo from the original recording which may be what makes this song so darn cool.

The mastermind behind the band, Jack Stratton, makes some rather interesting videos on the Vulfpeck channel. He discusses and demonstrates production, and how to play certain famous riffs on the keyboard. Stratton also shares his knowledge on attaining certain iconic sounds, such as Stevie Wonder’s classic clavinet, or generating sounds on a keyboard, like a classic Minimoog synthesizer. Whatever they may be about, these videos are always as intriguing and quirky as they are informative.

If you like upbeat bands like Daft Punk and Mutemath, or even fun (more mainstream) dance music like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, there’s a good chance you’ll really like listening to this album. So put your dancin’ pants on, open up your Spotify, and soak up these groovy vibes.