It has often been said that music critics are frustrated musicians. Perhaps some of them are, but that doesn't mean that all of them are without musical talent -- the late Leonard Feather, for example, wrote some noteworthy songs before he became the world's best-known jazz critic. On Grin Groove, former music critic Scott G. calls himself the G-Man and shows what he can do as a vocalist, producer, and guitarist. This club-friendly CD contains very quirky and eccentric dance music, and the G-Man brings a variety of influences to the table. Thomas Dolby's '80s recordings and David Bowie's funkier, more dance-oriented material are influences; so are house, goth rock, industrial, techno, ambient, and trance. But Grin Groove is more accessible than a lot of rave music, and this CD isn't just about the beat; it's also about lyrics. Sex is a prominent theme, and the G-Man loves to make fun of people who are sexually repressed -- especially the more radical Christian fundamentalists (although not necessarily Christianity in general). "Touch When You Dance," for example, mocks an 1846 sermon by the Rev. John F. Mesick, a fundamentalist minister who believed that all forms of dancing were immoral. When the G-Man quotes Mesick, he does so in a very ironic, mocking way -- and the danceable beat promotes the very thing that Mesick found so objectionable. Meanwhile, "You Are the Drug" points out that bondage and kinky sex don't necessarily involve hardcore sadomasochism. The tune is about a woman who asks to be tied up, gagged, and blindfolded during sex; her male lover goes along with the bondage part but refuses to inflict any type of pain on her. At times, the G-Man can be a little too self-indulgent for his own good, but for the most part, his interesting ideas make Grin Groove a creative success.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson