Idiot Grins are a funk and soul group from the Bay Area and it seems like they've been around forever.
Regulars of the Oakland and SF club scene, they have a reputation for their rockin' live shows.
They have a new album out called "State of Health" and it's my duty and pleasure to report to you whether or not that live show rep translates to the studio.
Let's give "State of Health" a listen.
Watch the music video for "Take it Back" on Youtube below:
We get started with the solid if unspectacular blues jam "Get Busy Dying". It's a good tune but lacks some of the firepower I'd expect from the opening track. Not bad, but I wasn't in love. "Frock" worked a little better for me, but it still feels like they are holding back a little. "Philly Belly Cheesy" doesn't sound anything like what the title suggests. It's a love song. I like this sound for them. "Build It" is next, and it might be my favorite track thus far. It's got a funk vibe that is straight from the 70's. A lovely Fabulous Thunderbirds feel to it. "Unkind" is next and it's another decent little tune. The biggest problem is that none of these tunes seems to stand out from each other. "That's Some Funky Business" is another funky one that hits most of the right spots. This is probably the zone that Idiot Grins are best in. "Televised" is a slow burn but it's good. They seem to have hit a good place in the middle of the record. "Take it Back" is delightful. A really great tune that you'll go back for repeated listens. "Dream" isn't my favorite. It never really seems to take off. "Mama's Tears" is a slow track with an almost country vibe to it. The lyrics are heartfelt and earnest, and it's probably the best ballad on the album. "Breathe" doesn't sound anything like anything else so far. I'll give it credit for being different. The album ends with "Big Starry Night". It's an Idiot Grins through and through. I like it but I don't love, which is kinda like the rest of the album.
This one never truly grabbed me, which isn't to say that it's bad. It's not at all. It's just one of those LP's that is only good and that's ok. Fans of the genre might love it, but for me it's a solid like.