Donavon Frankeneiter recorded his first record under the friendly auspices of his buddy Jack Johnson's patronage. The self-titled album from 2004 was a quite enjoyable sun-kissed record that sometime suffered from being laid-back to the point of inertia. The first track from the follow-up lets the listener know that Frankenreiter is following a slightly different path, as "Move by Yourself" is a funky, uptempo rocker punctuated by a bubbling clavinet (think early-'70s Stevie) and a barn-burning guitar solo. The track has more energy by itself than the whole last record did put together. Now, you may initially be put off if you were a fan of the previous album, but the same basic underpinnings that made the last album so good are still here, like Frankenreiter's mellow wisp of a voice, his easygoing lyrics, and most of all an enveloping warmth that makes the disc as smooth as a summer nap in the shade. The added interest in arrangements shows through on songs like the string-laden, wah-wah-laced, vibraphone-dipped "The Way It Is," which happily brings to mind early Hall & Oates; the lowdown and nasty "Fool," which sports some gritty gospel backing vocals; and the dramatic and dynamic "Let It Go." These touches and the overall boost in energy and commitment add punch and flavor to Move by Yourself that the last album lacked. The main bread and butter of his style still remains the low-key and loose midtempo tunes, sweet as strawberry jam, like "These Arms," "Girl Like You," "Beautiful Day," and "By Your Side." Add up all the positives and you end up with one heck of an album that will impress jam band lovers with its lazy lope, surprise people with its unhurried soul, and make fans of peaceful and easy but not innocuous songcraft quite happy. Hopefully, Frankenreiter is still pals with Jack Johnson on a personal level, but breaking away from him musically worked out just fine.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra