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Mint Condition: 7 ...



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Mint is back, but never have the Minneapolis funk legends sounded so incomplete. It's disconcerting to hear the heirs of the Time and Maze's mantle so audibly absent. Mint Condition's been melodically MIA before (i.e., Livin' the Luxury Brown), but rarely have its grooves been this loose or its progressions meandered in such uninteresting ways. Repeatedly, momentary flashes of promise ("Can't Get Away") end up feeling like references for a later composition. Cringe-worthy cuts such as "Walk On" or "Mind Slicker," with its inspired opening strings, quickly devolve into bombastic closers. Though "Bossalude" is but a two-minute interlude, it best represents the project, one of welcoming sounds that slams the door before you get a good foot in. Even the ambitious "Twenty Years Later," the oversung "Unsung," and a powerfully performed Kelly Price duet, "Not My Daddy," can't save this album from being 2011's first head-scratcher. (2 out of 5 stars)


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