Imagination Fusion | Idiot Grins: Hounds of Mess Around (Snug Harbor / 9 March 2024)

Imagination Fusion
Idiot Grins: Hounds of Mess Around
(Snug Harbor / 9 March 2024)

This is our fifth full-length album. We all gave each other COVID during one of the first sessions, but managed to recover from that to finish the album in a leisurely twelve months.

CD cover for the pop rock band Idiot Grins

Idiot Grins, of Oakland, CA, fuse RnB, soul and alt-country, combined with a relentlessly upbeat vibe, and turn it into a sound that's their own. 

They've got a retro sound that would fit solidly into the 1970s, where complex, layered pop rock with horns and two or three keyboard parts weren't at all out of the ordinary.

PA Mining Town has a kind of anthemic radio-friendly vibe that's typical of the group. John Hansen's vocals are perfect for the style, rich and melodic, making it all sound easy.

There's humour in the song titles and attitude. Not Reggae... isn't reggae, but it is one of the highlights of the release. It's a rhythmic track with a taste of Caribbean grooves here and there, but incorporating so many changes that they blend seamlessly with the other non-reggae parts. It ends somewhere in contemporary pop territory, surprisingly.

On Ded Zep, which begins with acoustic strumming and spoken word, and ends in a kind of folk-jazz blend that doesn't sound like it should work, but it does.

It's an intriguing and imaginative sound from veteran players who do it (seemingly) because they're having fun.

Musician Names/Instruments: Evan Eustis - Bass, mandolin, backing and lead vocals; Michael Conner - keyboards, strings, clavinet and synths; John Hansen - lead vocals and backing vocals; Michael Melgoza - drums; Randy Strauss guitars