By Ernest Barteldes
On their eighth studio release, the St. Paul, MN-bred band emerges with a collection of tunes that explore all their major influences ranging from hip-hop, jazz, funk and soul. Most of the tracks are firmly planted within the neo-soul realm, but they all offer glimpses of their other sources of inspiration.
For instance, “Believe in Us” features a jazz-inflected middle section, while “Blessed” takes a funkier groove. Among the best moments is “Slo Woman,” a gentle ballad with a subtle arrangement that focuses the group’s vocal harmonies. “Nothin’” is a blues-tinged tune about the aftermath of a bad breakup motivated by infidelity.
The album has a few weak moments: “In The Moment” fails to catch fire due to its lack of sonic focus, and the acoustic guitar-led “Girl of My Life” doesn’t have the right feel – it seems like the band was trying to get a Latin vibe to it but it just lacks the right groove.
In spite of those two tracks, Music At The Speed of Life gives Mint Condition fans what they expect: dance floor friendly music that also has something to say. The musicians have impeccable sound, and one can only wonder how those songs will feel like in a live format.