Call for Music Writers... Rock, Indie, Urban, Electronic, Americana, Metal, World and More

Music
cover art

Mr. Something Something

Shine Your Face

(World Records; US: 3 Jun 2009; UK: 3 Jun 2009)

Mr. Something Something is a band. It’s an all-white Afrobeat quintet from Toronto with strong jazz and funk influences, but that can be easy to forget while reading the press materials.  Most of the buzz this group has scored (”National Geographic?  You’d better believe it!”) comes from the band’s savvy with eco-technology, particularly its bike-powered sound system, “The Sound Cycle”, which powers the band’s amps and speakers by enlisting helpful volunteers from the audience to pedal to the music. 


OK, that’s actually pretty awesome, but so is the music: a dense, multi-layered and polyrhythmic sonic steamroller of funky African repetition and old jazz chops. The arrangements on Shine Your Face sizzle; time signatures flail on the side of complexity; John MacLean’s tenor sax interjects in the spaces left by the voodoo churn of Paul MacDougall’s palm-muted guitar, Liam Smith’s bass, and Larry Graves’ mountain of drums. Tempos are usually quick, and more often than not, the instrumental intensity and musicianship on display is almost intimidating.


And that’s all before even mentioning the voice. Johan Hultqvist’s pleas are mood sensitive, passionate, and soulful-beyond-his-time. On songs like the euphoric “Make Your Mind” and “Only the Maker”, he demonstrates such a brilliant range, the harmonies he provides to his own lead vocals almost sound like a different person.


Were you looking for my vote for Surprise Excellent Album Discovery of the Year?  Well, you found it.

Rating:

Ryan Reed is an Adjunct English Professor, English Department Graduate Assistant, and freelance music critic/journalist with degrees in English and Journalism. In addition to serving as an Associate Music Editor/Music Writer with PopMatters, he contributes reviews, feature stories, and other work to Billboard, Paste, American Songwriter, Boston Phoenix, Relix, Blurt, Metro Pulse, Cleveland Scene, and a handful of others. If you want to contact him for any reason, send an e-mail to rreed6128[at]hotmail.com.


Media
Mr. Something Something- Excerpts from Summer Tour 2008
Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements
PopMatters' LUCY Giveaway! in PopMatters's Hangs on LockerDome

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.