Vulfpeck // Mr. Finish Line
Vulfpeck is an emergent band brimming with youthful energy.
Mr. Finish Line
While very purposefully borrowing from the stylistic and tonal palettes of 70s R&B, funk, and AM pop, Vulfpeck is an emergent band brimming with youthful energy. Mr. Finish Line, their third full-length in as many years, mostly benefits from its childlike joy, enthusiasm, and eagerness to please — throughout the majority of this swift-moving set, you'll be smiling from ear to ear. Opening track "Birds of a Feather, We Rock Together" (featuring the velvety smooth singing of Antwaun Staley) is easy like Sunday morning and as contagious as the avian flu, but without the unpleasant symptoms (save for any tone-deaf chirping its refrain may induce). At its best, Mr. Finish Line tugs on both the heartstrings (the lush Motown-style ballads "Running Away" and "Grandma") and the pant legs (the electric piano-driven disco workout "Tee Time," the Meters-flavored bass showcase "Vulf Pack"). At its worst, it will grate on your nerves when it gets too cutesy. The Jackson 5-inspired "Business Casual" is fun enough that you'll probably go along with it, but album closer "Captain Hook" featuring the rapping of Baby Theo (i.e. Elmo with a Brooklyn accent) is unbearably annoying. Still, Vulfpeck earns their buzz on more occasions than a "buzz off."
— Matt Swanseger