Counterfeit Madison is one of those local musicians who you hear the coolest stories about. In this case, the positive reputation of the mastermind behind the music (Sharon Udoh) far preceded her project; yet “Opposable Thumbs,” Counterfeit Madison’s new genre-bending funk-punk-rock album, is somehow still better than I ever thought it could be.
The description on Counterfeit Madison’s website says that this album is “all the things.” And it is. With no set genre boundaries, Udoh jumps from funky, crunchy, jazzy tracks with a rocking guitar solo (“Bartlett’s”) to something deep and velvety, with harmonies that could make you cry (“Song for the Loyals”). She does so effortlessly while maintaining her approachable and accessible sound, proving her versatility without coming across like she hasn’t made up her mind.
Udoh’s voice bridges the gap between genres. Her voice could warrant an entire article of its own; it’s warm, it’s welcoming, and it’s unlike any other voice in that it makes you want to melt while simultaneously feeling like you’re electrified. Simply put, Udoh’s soulful vocals are beautiful even without the layered harmonies. Her lyrics are always sincere, like on “Light Switch” (“You lift my spirit high/you fuel my dying fire/you make me happy/you open wide the door and beckon me to come/you flip the light switch on”), and she even offers to explain them on her Bandcamp page.
The magic does not lie only in her vocals, however; Counterfeit Madison puts the perfect touch on every track, whether that comes from a bright melody that tastes like sorbet, floating underneath thick, harmonizing vocals on “Shout About Clout,” or from the chunky bass guitar in the background of “I Hope It’s Alright” that lends a jazzy touch and makes your fingertips buzz.
She moves from slow and syrupy, with simple instrumentals, to heavier and rocking, completing the album with “Control Freak,” a vintage-sounding rock track with growling vocals and crunching guitar, and “Slow as Molasses,” which comes full-circle back to simple piano, but without forgetting from where it came – edgy guitar keeps up the rock vibe all the way until the end.
Counterfeit Madison’s upcoming vinyl release show – Tuesday, November 21 at The Wex – is one of the more highly anticipated Columbus music events next week. She’ll be accompanied by Correy Parks, Mary Lynn, and Corbezzolo, and the night is sure to be everything that you didn’t expect (and more) in the best way possible. If you don’t live in Columbus or can’t make it to the show, however, “Opposable Thumbs” is out tomorrow (11/17) on Anyway Records, and you can find more information at counterfeitmadison.com.