Mint Condition

Livin' the Luxury Brown

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Livin' the Luxury Brown comes five and a half years after Mint Condition's previous album, Life's Aquarium. An absence of that length would put the average group under a tremendous amount of pressure, especially when a rabid fan base has been left waiting so long. In another sense, Mint Condition is under no pressure whatsoever. Now on their own label, and even more unique than they were in the '90s -- in the entirely self-contained sense of producing, writing, and playing their own instruments -- sales and competition are no longer significant factors. At this stage in their career, all they really care about is making music and playing it live for their followers. And it shows: while occasionally lagging due to the meandering and indulgence that often comes with boundless freedom, Livin' the Luxury Brown is the group's fifth straight (out of five) strong album. You can tell they've spent a good amount of their time away soaking up more influences from the '60s and '70s, but they've obviously kept up with modern R&B as well. Even a couple unexpected rock-out moments (especially the middle patch of "Fallin' Apart") are pulled off with a tremendous amount of conviction. They've done their early mentors, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, proud.

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