It lacked the delicious hooks and tight funk of Composite Truth, but Just Outside of Town was as solid and confident a piece of music-making as the band ever accomplished. The single "Mango Meat" is a tough Latin funk number with some inspired group harmonizing, and Mandrill stretched out with a pair of love songs, "Never Die" and the aptly titled "Love Song," the latter beginning with a few minutes of atmospheric bliss that boasted unrealized cinematic/soundtrack possibilities. "Fat City Strut" moves back and forth between blasts of brass-powered funk and the sweet seduction of Latin percussion and a vibes solo. The distorted funk monster "Two Sisters of Mystery" is another classic, one that later enticed producer Gary G-Wiz to sample it for Public Enemy's "By the Time I Get to Arizona." The last two songs were very uncharacteristic for Mandrill, one a bluesy/country song with a pop gloss, the other an ambling instrumental led by an acoustic guitar and including a few out-of-place synthesizer shadings. It certainly wasn't Mandrill going out on top (for an album, or for its period at Polydor), but it certainly summed up the promise of one of funk's most courageous bands.
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AllMusic Review by John Bush