State of Health by Idiot Grins featuring The Byrd Sisters
State of Health by Idiot Grins featuring The Byrd Sisters

After releasing their debut Quarry in 2010, the five-piece rock and funk act Idiot Grins have found modest success among music critics and fans alike. While their debut was considered “a good start,” their sophomore effort Big Man gain critical acclaim and commercial appeal.

But their latest album State of Health ups their game with the addition of the Gospel group the Byrd Sisters lending greater sense of soul to the vocal support and renewed energy and excitement an iconic horn lineup led by the legendary Johnnie Bamont (Huey Lewis and the News, Tony! Toni! Toné!).

The album kicks off with a banger called “Get Busy Dying” that slowly builds into an explosive climax and a wonderful way to begin an album. It’s almost a litmus test for what you’re going to be exposed to for the rest of the album; if you’re on board, you’ll love it, but if not, this music might not be for you. It almost has an Isaac Hayes feel with its funk beats and red hot fire horns.

The album then transitions into a more mellow sound with the song “Philly Belly Cheesy,” which appears to be about a man trying to confront his responsibilities and desires of loving his woman. It reminds me of Otis Redding, while the song is chill and serves as a smooth palate cleanser before the hot fire to come.

In many ways, State of Health reminds me of Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals’ 2007 album Lifeline — especially with the songs “Televised” and “Take It Back.” It almost has an analog sound, as if it was recorded with old school recording equipment instead of Pro Tools. And in that way, it sounds like a “recorded” live album. Each element, from the funky drums and bass to the smooth and rich vocals, can be heard and understood. Nothing seems “hidden,” but rather all on display for the listener to enjoy.

State of Health is a wonderful album that will have you tapping your toes and nodding your head. It’s the type of album for novices to the genre, as well as the experts who want something new and exciting. The addition of the Byrd Sisters really gives the album its personality and grace, Johnnie Bamont’s horn sections give it its punch. Overall, the songwriting and arrangements are quite impressive and just might be important to your “state of health.”

Songs – B-
Technical – B+
Overall – B+

State of Health by Idiot Grins featuring The Byrd Sisters is now available on Spotify and CDBaby. For more info, check out the band’s website here.

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State of Health by Idiot Grins featuring The Byrd Sisters

By Rudie Obias

Lives in Brooklyn, New York. He's a freelance writer interested in cinema, pop culture, sex lifestyle, science fiction, and web culture. His work can be found at Mental Floss, Movie Pilot, UPROXX, ScreenRant, Battleship Pretension and of course

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