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Roses And Clover by ALO

ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra) is a 4-piece band from the San Francisco/Oakland area with equal parts of folk, jazz, pop, soul, funk, and roots music. They received media attention in 2006 with their debut album on Brushfire Records entitled Fly Between Falls. Previously, the band had released Time Expander in 2002, One Size Fits All in 1999, and ALO vs. LAG in 1998. Their recent album Roses And Clover produced by the band, Robert Carranza and Dave Simon-Baker is an upbeat record that finds joy in having a positive outlook about life, even from song titles like "All Alone" and "Empty Vessel." ALO live by the adage that if you’re not happy with yourself at home, you’ll never find happiness any place you go, and that’s where their roots rock meets soul-funk. They bring the uplifting vibes of funk into roots music which makes for a divine musical experience.

Roses And Clover is an album that makes you feel good being at home or any place you go. Their music is one of the most natural aphrodisiacs accessible to humankind. Commencing with the springy "Maria," the album sprouts with the elated emotions that come from being in love exuding from the keyboards of vocalist Zach Gill and the dashing strumming of guitarist/vocalist Dan Lebowitz. The jolly rhythm section from bassist/vocalist Steve Adams and drummer/vocalist David Brogan add a hop to the buoyant sensations. The folk-soul tempos continue to pour out with numbers like "Empty Vessel" and the title track trellising soft flowing rises and flares of pedal-steel guitar and buds of piano increments. The roots rock molding on "Try" is lathered with reggae rhythms and bloom again on "Monday" with sprigs of soul and funk. The ballad "Shine" has a light calypso sway along the folk-pop verses while "Plastic Bubble" has a So Cal/Hawaiian pulsation beaming through the folk-soul vibes. "All Alone" has a retro-pop feel with ‘60s baroque-pop keyboard textures and jazz grooves inspiring improvisations in the guitar and keyboard solos. The blue-eyed soul lacings on "Lady Loop" are reflective of Tristan Prettyman and Alana Davis. The final track wraps up the album with a smooth jazz/folk-pop melody that drifts off into a reposing state.

ALO kept their melodies naturally rhythmic and refined. Each fragment works in harmony with the others so there is a cohesiveness in the tunes which is a natural extension of the band members’ relationship. The four musicians met while attending the University of California Santa Barbara and formed the quartet in 2002. All four members played in college jazz bands prior, and steadily progressed into what ALO sounds like today, which the San Francisco Chronicle dubbed as "sex music boogaloo" in 2006. The band’s music culminates classic with contemporary and folk/roots music with blends of jazz, soul and funk that has a sweet likeness to Rob Thomas. ALO’s music impresses audiences just by being natural and uplifting, bringing out the best in folk-jazz.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: ALO
  • CD Title: Roses And Clover
  • Genre: Folk Jazz
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: Brushfire Records
  • Tracks: Maria, Empty Vessel (A Pledge Of No Allegiance), Try, Roses And Clover, Monday, Shine, Plastic Bubble, All Alone, Lady Loop, Water Song
  • Musicians: Zach Gill (keyboards, vocals), Dan Lebowitz (guitar, vocals), Steve Adams (bass, vocals), David Brogan (drums, vocals)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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