If this album had been release way back when Phish announced their hiatus, it would have surely propelled ALO into the spot as the dominant jam band of the moment. That being said, this new album takes a bit from their previous three and steps it way up. Their Jack Johnson-meets-Phish sound permeates the entire album, which sounds more like a jam session than a carefully crafted collection of new songs. Only two of the ten songs on the album clock it under five minutes, proving that ALO are a jam band at the core. But they still have pop sensibilities as is proven in the lyrical content. What makes the album great is that you can actually hear the four members of the band having fun through their music. They set out to make a record that just showed off how they do music and the result is an album that is as equally impressive as their live shows. The first single "Speed Of Dreams" (which was edited shorter for radio) is the only track on the album that sounds like it could have fit on any of their previous three. The opener, "Dead Still Dance," is one of those songs that showcases off the element of their live jamming and will sound just as good on stage as it does on the album. Other standouts on the album are the seemingly short "Storms And Hurricanes" and the edgy "Blew Out The Walls." From start to finish is sounds as though ALO is performing a live show and by the time it's over you'll be screaming for an encore. There songs are going to be just as fun on stage as they are on the album, and it's going to be hard to tell who's having more fun at the shows they are performed at: the band or the fans.
Pete Kilpatrick Band is an incredibly underappreciated force in the music world. On their latest album they continue the greatness that they started two releases ago, and deliver well crafted pop and rock songs that showcase the intricacies of Kilpatricks lyrics and how well they are interwoven with the music. Friend and collaborator Stefan Lessard (of Dave Matthews Band) lends his talents to the edgy track "Burning Star." The title track is the album's anchor and standout, Showcasing both Kilpatrick's ability to write a catchy hook and the band's talents for crafting rock songs that don't sound like everything else on the radio. The lyrics are the root of the success of the album, but it's the creative music and instrumentation that is the glue that holds it all together, making for, quite possibly, PKB's best collection of songs to date. Each song on the album will translate well to the live stage and the album's true beauty can be fully realized upon first listen. It's not often band's can create such magnificence without a major label footing the bill, but Pete Kilpatrick Band continue to prove that the music is the heart of their band, and when it works it just works.
Eric Hutchinson writes and sings his music like he's a twenty year veteran of the industry. His tunes are pop gold and each and every one sounds as tight as ever on his newest album. Pretty much picking up where he left off on his last, his music dives into the various aspects off love and relationships in an incredibly relatable way. In fact, he has such a way with words and music, he can make a miserable feeling and make it sound fun and exciting just as he does on debut single "Watching You Watch Him." Other songs on the album are the piano driven "Best Days" and the subtly reggae influenced "Talk Is Cheap." Hutchinson is one of this generations premier pop singer/songwriters and his range reaches from the top 40 airwaves all the way to the smoky bars and open mic nights of the world. This latest just proves that his last album and subsequent success was no freak accident.