Idiot Grins – ‘Hounds of Mess Around’

Presenting a soulful rock sound with brass-laden enthusiasm, Hounds of Mess Around is the fifth full-length from Oakland-based band Idiot Grins. Their upbeat, expansive sound is marked by charismatic vocal smoothness amidst a wide-ranging array of instrumentation, ranging from bluesy guitar licks to illuminated organs and blaring brass. Aesthetically, there’s a fond likeness to acts such as Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, and Hounds of Mess Around continues the fantastic songwriting shown on previous albums.

“Riunite” opens the album with a dazzling suaveness, melding brass and organs that lament “he took all that I had.” The responsive vocal additions further the spirited vigor, building into a delectable guitar emphasis past the two-minute turn. Elsewhere, “Island” struts an Elvis Costello-esque charm in its bouncy keys and organ-friendly infusions, while “Not Reggae” touts a cinematic mystique in its ’70s-touched brass-y nostalgia into the fantastic “burning down,” hook.

Hounds of Mess Around is a riveting release from Idiot Grins, melding the band’s expansive arsenal of instrumentation with ample personality via the vocal deliveries and inventive structural twists. The album thoroughly impresses, from the smooth brassy maneuvering within “Peaches” to the warming folk traditions of “Ded Zep.”

“Riunite” and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Emerging Singles’ Spotify playlist.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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