MSB is a three-person band consisting of Becca Mhalek on alto and bari saxophones, Mike Brown on the double bass and Rich Santucci on drums. Their debut album Nope is a combination of rock, jazz and classical instrumental music with a funky unique vibe. The music as a whole is hard to describe. There are some soft mellow moments, but the majority is in your face and loud.
The album started with “Bigfoot” which introduces us to the jazzy horns that definitely take a lead in most songs. Mhalek’s playing is chaotic yet composed and blends well with the smooth bass lines and rock-esque drum beats. The song was reminiscent of a chase scene soundtrack, fast-paced and anxious. “Steinheim” is slower and softer but has very similar melodies as the previous song, blending the two vibes. “Sherrie’s Rainbow” has more of a rock backdrop, where Santucci’s drums take more of a starring role. The song was dark and ominous with catchy melodies.
There were a couple of songs on Nope that seemed messy and hard to follow but made up for it with songs like “Bullitt” with a very impressive bass line by Brown and a solid rock foundation. “Meltaway” and “King” slowed things down a bit with more mellow sounds and swaying type melodies.
The stand out track for me was “Rock Monster.” The horns were electric and sounded amazing with the fast paced rock drumming and cool stealthy bass lines. It was fun and fast paced and just an overall feel good song. “Badass” earned its name and was similarly appealing but with a more dangerous dark sound. The album ended with “Sultan” which had almost a middle eastern exotic sound with a spirited bass line and chaotic drums.
Nope is an interesting debut by a talented group of musicians. The combination of rock beats and bass with jazzy horns created a fun sound that was contagious. Although some songs were a little overwhelming and tangled, I enjoyed it and look forward to future albums
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