Buyer beware when crossing Smash Mouth with Prince

· Sep 14, 2001 Tweet

They are decent, and you will probably have fun at their Saturday show at Mendota’s Terrace, but their album is, at best, booty-shakin’ music. It has a groove to it, but catchy melodies are hard to find.

Minneapolis’ Iffy consists of former Run Westy Run members Tom Merkl and Kirk Johnson with new member Dave Pederson.

The band’s music has been described as “rock-soul-electronica,” and their publicist describes them as a mix of, among others, Smash Mouth, Sublime, Beck and Prince. With innovative music hard to come by recently, some listeners will settle for an at least unique blend of music genres. However, Iffy is not that. The genres the band tries to blend together were merely chopped and stirred in a salad bowl, not pureed as many hope to hear.

The three-piece is at best a pseudo-tribute band, writing original material they think the band or artist would write. They’re a cover band of 12 bands — “karaoke kids,” if you will.

Iffy’s debut biota bondo is party-ready, but any sort of extended listening isn’t recommended. As the first arrivals mill around awkwardly talking, wondering when the real party people will get there, the background-filler disc gives them a small excuse to shake their ass if they want. But when the real guests get there, it should promptly be turned off.

The lead singer Kirk Johnson’s voice is distinct, but it’s lazy. He seems afraid to really try and sing. If he uses his lazy, almost off-key moniker, at least he can’t be laughed at for trying.

As mentioned earlier, the live show should be decent and after all, it is free. The band itself is decent, and the members look like funny guys in the press photos. But the CD just ain’t worth it.

The fourth song on the album, “sweet stuff,” is eerily “Hooch”-esque. Just the chorus lyrics, “She got the sweet stuff/ She got to me/ She got more than enough,” should have Everything suing. Remember, “Who got the hooch/ Baby/ Who got the only sweetest thing in the world,”?
In “the citation” we see a bit of electronica, with Johnson rambling like Dylan over the top of the track. “Superbad girl” is another dose of bad electronica, sounding like a leftover from Beck’s “Midnight Vultures.” Covering a similar sexy topic as Beck’s concept album, Johnson croons in a great imitation of Beck’s falsetto.
So go grab a beer and shake your booty to the not-quite-infectious grooves of Iffy at the Terrace. You might have fun, but be sure to have your beverage in hand.


This article was published Sep 14, 2001 at 12:00 am and last updated Sep 14, 2001 at 12:00 am


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