A former Lakers ball boy whose ever-growing musical credits include collaborations with Carlos Santana, Deltron 3030, Beck and Femi Kuta among others, Money Mark (who performs at Boulder's Fox Theatre on Friday, September 21) serves up his third solo full-length album. Change Is Coming's twelve highly accessible instrumentals blur the line between late '60s R&B and a contemporary, cinematic thriller.
While bygone celluloid heroes such as Shaft once gave Harlem-based mob villains cause to lament (Bumpy, we hardly knew ye), the atmospherics heard on opening track "Chocochip" resurrect the same playful but hot-buttered soul of Isaac Hayes's salad days. Sparing the revolutionary rhetoric -- or any vocal input save a few Sinatra-esque utterances of "doo doo doo" -- the fourth and funkiest Beastie Boy again lets his spacey, textured and monolithic grooves speak for themselves: from blatant party funk ("Information Contraband") to sparse trap set/organ duet ("Love Undisputed"). A twangy, double-stringed Cuban treis gives "Another Day to Love You" unmistakable mambo flavor, while the exotic Los Lobos spice up the slinky, breezy "Pepe y Irene." "Caught Without a Race" finds the half-Japanese/half-Mexican artist (born Mark Ramos-Nishita) scooting through the ethnic strata -- confused about which flag he's supposed to wave -- but banging on pots and pans all the same. "People's Party (Red Alert)," meanwhile, conjures the horn-driven and staggering tribal funk of War.
Smooth as cognac from start to finish, Change departs from 1998's eclectic and lo-fi offering Push the Button with fully digital, state-of-the-art enhancement, sharper hooks and broader appeal. Maybe Money does change everything.
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