February 2, 2010 | 1:00pm
The Hype: Good friend Jack Johnson is in the producer's chair for ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra)'s first album since 2007's Roses and Clover. This is also the band's third full-length (including their Fly Between Falls re-issue) on Johnson's Brushfire Records. The Bay-area jam band recorded the entire album live at his home studio on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.
The Judgment: Besides your best pair of headphones, your most vital accessory when listening to ALO's new album, Man of the World, is a sturdy pair of sandals (and maybe a flowy, Hawaiian shirt). Under a pile of dancing notes, island textures and organ-heavy pop, the four-piece deliver a groove-oriented grab bag of summertime tunes, painted with shimmering steel guitar, congas and the occasional vocals by Johnson.
Thriving in bouncy, mid-tempo time signatures, songs like "Big Appetite" and "Time and Heat" showcase the natural chemistry that ALO's neo-hippie following will readily devour. Even the slower, smoldering tunes like the album opener "Suspended" or "The Gardener's Grave" (featuring Johnson on vocals) will get you in the swaying mood. But despite all the sincere, good-time vibes conjured up here, ALO's sound can get a little redundant.
Download These: "Man of the World," "Gardener's Grave" and "I Love Music"