Mr. Specific is an instrumental band from Denver, Colorado and their style can be easily defined as “jam band” but, they also explore other genres as well. Ranging from progressive rock to danceable jazz funk with tinges of hip hop, Mr. Specific manipulates complex time signatures and key changes, sounding sometimes like math rock, but relying on grooves to keep everyone dancing. Their latest album Going out Swingin was recorded, mixed and mastered at Camera Jams Studio in Arvada, Colorado. Members of the band include a fine assortment of talent: Will Ganas on guitars, Colin Smith on bass, Josh Katz on drums, Mitch Frank on keys (track 1), Alex Cazet on saxophone (track 6), Matt Wilkolak on trumpet (track 6) and Paul Copoulous on keys (track 9). The band states the album was recorded over the course of six months with only three days that involved the whole band recording together. Extra track recordings, with the additional players, happened at a later time.
“Full Crimp” starts things off with spacey synth flavors and a fully charged, fast paced beat. Over just a minute, the trio switches into a jammy, feel good groove that borders on psychedelic reggae or something more akin to George Clinton and Funkadelic perhaps? After the three-minute mark, the band changes things around again into a soft rock style and then segues into another pseudo-funk/reggae jam. If you want to get taken for a musical ride filled with twists and turns, this song would definitely be it. I absolutely loved “Smile Attack” for its fast energy and catchy guitar licks, meaty bass lines and tight beats. This one got me bobbin’ my head quite a bit. Next is, “Floppy Hat” and it’s another song that keeps up fast paced energy, even more so than the previous tune in some ways. Plenty of great guitar action, fast playing on the hi-hats and groovy “wah-wah” guitar pedal effects. Overall, a lot of spirit and dynamics here which made this tune an absolute joy to listen to.
“2 Weeks” reminds me of something from the progressive sounds of the ‘70s, like Yes or Emerson, Lake and Palmer. A lot of quick changes, jumps and breaks to this one – well done! “Posturtute” features an edginess to it and I thought it was the band’s most creative, not to mention most well executed, song. “Purple Turtle” starts off with a thick, low bass lines and a brass section, which I hoped to hear more of on other songs, but oh well, maybe the next go around. So yeah, I’m biased when it comes to a horn section of any kind, but if you enjoy listening to them, then this is your song! “Cactus” which I thought at first might be a Pixies cover, but clearly wasn’t, is the band’s longest number. It comes complete with jazz, funk and contemporary styles of all kinds in between. I did like their change ups and time signatures which kept the entire spirit of the song moving through nicely. The group breaks down more funky beats and guitar rhythms later on, along with a mix of soundscape and ambient textures.
“You Should Floss More” lays down the funk pretty thick with off beats and fluid, catchy guitar action. I would say this number even borders on a lighter version of progressive metal. I loved the warbly effects they added, too. Coming in last is “The Sky is Made of Blueberries” which is about as imaginative as the song’s title suggests – and I mean that sincerely. This song has great action going on with some sweet sounds, told through the instrumentation of three very talented musicians.
If you’re in the mood for funk rhythms that border between math rock, progressive, jazz and a little ambient, and songs beyond the usual three-minute pop standard, then Mr. Specific is precisely what you need. It took me a while to get into this Denver band’s groove, but after a few songs in their style started growing on me.
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