- 20 Feb 08
"Listening to their lackadaisical, bluesy songs, it’s easy to be transported away from the incessant drizzle to a rooftop bar in the blistering sunshine."
A band of four friends, rather than a soundtrack to a cause, Animal Liberation Orchestra may be best known for their close association with Jack Johnson, but there’s no doubt they could give their friend and boss a run for his money.
They certainly inhabit the same end of the musical spectrum, right next to the line marked ‘acoustic-based melodic songs’ and far, far away from the one entitled ‘highly strung’. It’s because they come from California that their music’s so sunny, I say. Listening to their lackadaisical, bluesy songs with Zach Gill’s comforting vocals telling of amusing tales or situations, it’s easy to be transported away from the incessant drizzle to a rooftop bar in the blistering sunshine. What are we having? If the beverage conducive to rock is a warm lager, and for salsa it’s a douse of Bacardi, the liquid accompaniment to Animal Liberation Orchestra is a frosty cold beer. Or a crisp, white Sav Blanc for the ladies.
Their second album, released in 2007 but only reaching Ireland now, is exactly what we’d expect from the crew – though they did take the novel approach of recording it over a two week period in a barn. Otherwise, they’re not exactly testing the limits of their talents and our acceptance, but to call it ‘predictable’ would imply that we were pushing for a change. Yet we can only find true comfort from the things that can be relied upon, and there’s plenty of that in ALO. The album highlight ‘All Alone’ fills this listener with a rare desire to boogie, thanks to its familiar, groovy tones and a hypnotic vocal performance. Meanwhile the slowest song in the set, ‘Shine’, is no wishy-washy ballad. In fact it’s so soothing that it would make a perfect modern day lullaby.
Jack Johnson the label owner must be grinning, while Jack Johnson the artist ought to be quaking in his flip flops.