Mint Condition, "7 . . ."


Mint Condition is a rare breed these days: a self-contained R&B/funk band. And although the Minneapolis outfit's breakthrough crossover hit, "Breakin' My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes)," dates back to 1991, don't get it twisted and think these oldsters can't cut it anymore. Sounding just as energetic and commanding as ever, Mint Condition can still do it all, from writing and producing the tracks on its seventh album to shifting seamlessly among R&B/funk, hip-hop, jazz and rock-all without falling into the formulaic abyss. MC gets things under way with the rock/electric-vibed opener "Can't Get Away," then segues into such repeat-worthy tracks as the easygoing, yet cautionary love song "Mind Slicker," Latin instrumental groove "Bossalude," subtly intense ballad "Unsung" and the two singles currently climbing Billboard's R&B/hip-hop chart: the flirty "Caught My Eye" and the relationship treatise "Not My Daddy" (featuring Kelly Price). Tying everything together is the sixth sense that comes with playing together for 20 years, plus drummer/lead singer Stokley Williams' searing vocals. You can both hear and feel his anguish on breakup track "Walk On." Mint Condition is proof positive that it's OK to keep doing your thing.


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