Jack Johnson wields considerable influence over ALO’s fourth album, which features four co-writing credits and multiple appearances by the Hawaiian songwriter. Johnson even sings lead during one of the album’s strongest tracks, “Gardener’s Grave,” and the majority of Man of the World seems to channel his laid-back influence, with little attention paid to extended guitar solos or lively, improvisational sections. The band has been steadily drifting toward shorter, succinct songs since 2006’s Fly Between Falls, but Man of the World takes things one step further by emphasizing acoustic guitars, soft percussion, and a general campfire vibe. The resulting songs are perfectly pleasant, yet they tend to become interchangeable as the album enters its second half, and a lack of flashy musicianship does little to change up the pace. Instead, more attention is paid to one of the band’s weaker qualities -- its vocals -- and ALO ultimately winds up playing second fiddle to Jack Johnson, whose vocals (and overall influence) unknowingly steal the show.
AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey