I don’t know how I came across it, but in late summer of 2007 I listened to a lot of ALO’s Roses & Clover. I also listened to a lot of Jonas Brothers that summer, began my love for Ben Folds and that was the summer I found out Freddy Mercury wasn’t alive anymore. A lot changes in 7 years. But what hasn’t changed is the feel good vibe that this Caribbean infused soft rock band projects; which is why it is this week’s throw back Thursday review.
With a dash of funk, folk, and pop thrown into the mix, Roses & Clover is the second studio album released by ALO and has less of a jam band feel than their first album Fly Between Walls (2006) did. The first listen of Roses & Clover feels like turning on the records your parents played for you as a kid, it’s like an old friend who you’ve known for years. Roses & Clover opens up with the celebratory love song “Maria” who’s elated intro piano riff sets a relaxing and warm tone that is present in the entire album. It is a personal favorite off of the album and a key introduction into who ALO is. Reggae rhythms emerge in “Try” – and then later again in “Monday” – showcasing the versatility of ALO’s feel good attitude. After slowing things down for the sweet ballad “Shine” that flows seamlessly into “Plastic Bubble”, Roses & Clover builds up the energy again to make room for the funk filled groove of last song “Lady Loop”. The four piece band builds on each other’s harmonies, creating a cohesive album that is able to breath.
ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra) was formed at the University of California at Santa Barbra and in their early years had 9 members. After graduating, the band’s principle members Zach Gill (Keys), Steve Adams (Bass), and Dan Lebowtiz (Guitar) moved north and recruited Dave Brogan (Drums) to join the band. ALO toured around the San Francisco area catching the attention of Jack Johnson who signed them to his own record label and was featured on a few songs on Fly Between Walls.
ALO is a soft rock must listen, one that wouldn’t offend anyone you try to listen with. An intimate quality runs through the album, inviting you into a warm embrace with well-crafted feel good songs. It is easy –going music you feel like you grew up with and since it is from 2007 you just may have.
The track list is below:
- Empty Vessel (A Pledge Of No Allegiance)
- Roses And Clover
- Plastic Bubble
- All Alone
- Lady Loop
- Water Song