Idiot Grins Maintains Thoughts & Prayers on New LP

By Deuce

Leave it to Idiot Grins to mine a 1950’s country gospel record (yes, country gospel) and stumble on a hit record. That’s just what the quintet did on its latest release, Thoughts & Prayers, which is a cover of The Louvin Brother’s 12-cut album Satan is Real.

Now, for anyone who might know a thing or two about mid 20th century country music, The Louvin Brothers’ moniker should sound suspiciously similar to that of The Everly Brothers. Although the latter was largely renowned for charming bits of secular music (which most conspicuously included the supernal “All I Have To Do Is Dream”), the formula for one group was virtually identical to that of the other. Both were duos who sang the majority of their songs with each member singing lead in a natural harmonic blend that was smooth and stylish, combining high and lower vocal tones.

Idiot Grins vocalists John Hansen and Evan Eustis follow this same pattern on the group’s latest release—for the most part. The pair likely had a good time doing so, with one singing higher and the other singing lower. On some cuts like “He Can Be Found” they sing part of it this way before letting one of the members go solo on the verses while the other picks him up on the refrain.

The crooner with the lower pitched voice sings lead on more of “There’s a Higher Power”, yet is joined by the chiming refrain of the title by his partner on nearly every line. On the opener, “Satan is Real”, they sing in unison before really breaking things down with an authentic sounding homily, replete with a wavering organ and everything but applause from the blessed in the audience.

But back to that hit record, which just so happens to be “Satan’s Jeweled Crown” which is a, pardon the pun, hell of a title for a tune if ever there was one. The number is so reminiscent of Frank and Nancy Sinatra’s “Something Stupid”, which was released almost a decade later, that it’s unreal. From the opening guitar solo to the harmony of the vocalists, the song wafts at about the same pace, with the same guitar and bass enriched river of sound catapulting it.

The tune is worth the price of the LP alone, and should be released as a single.  

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