The audio equivilent of walking the streets naked.
Squeaky-clean and full of a sort of band innocence that is rarely found, Alo may make you feel a little strange inside. Not because they’re an act to pull on your heartstrings as such; nor are they ones that provoke outrage from middle class critics blustering over their quills and sitting comfortably in Kashmir panties. No. It’s simply because they feel, well, a bit wrong…
With corny harmonies in the predictable parts of the composition, a shameless use of wah and hootchie-cootchie rhythms that sliver over your shoes and leave a sex-slime that early Bon Jovi would be proud of, it doesn’t really feel like you’re listening to a band that has had a recent release, or if they have, it’s digitally remastered from a scratchy tape reel.
From the opening sequence that should be the soundtrack to Cheers: The Next Generation, it would be simple to say they sound a little of Ben Folds Five because it’s some blokes with a piano and an American feel, but no, it’s really in a realm that deserves a generous serving of crackers and milk to wash it down. Oh, and don’t forget the strange pointy knife that curves at the end. That’ll probably help.
Balls of steel, or head in the sand? Well, sometimes it almost feels like it doesn’t matter, if you had a cocktail in your hand and were a little bit inebriated. Further away from debatable opening of ‘Maria’, there are some songs that will get you thinking, but in a good way. Take the reggae-induced, sun-drenched ‘Try’, something inside of the song suggests longevity and musical talent that could see them onto bigger and better things. But then, quickly on its heels is the title track, ‘Roses and Clover’ • a track full of gospel melodies and techniques that are quite frankly embarrassing.
It’s unlikely that there will be a person rating Alo as the best band in years, unless they slipped into a coma in ’75 and have woken up yesterday.
The album is like a doll with a knife for an arse - it just sit doesn’t right.