Santa Barbara-based jam band ALO comes off as a worthy descendent of a musical tradition that includes the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers Band, although they may be closer to, say, the Doobie Brothers than to the gods of the genre. The musical interplay of guitarist Dan Lebowitz, keyboardist Zach Gill, bassist Steve Adams, and drummer David Brogan suggests plenty of time spent wood-shedding, and they come up with catchy rock songs in which the choruses are followed by inventive soloing. But they lean more to the pop side of their style. Their playing has little of the bluesy grit of the Allman Brothers, and their songs, with lyrics overwhelmingly concerned with romantic come-ons or put-downs, have none of the philosophical weight of Robert Hunter's for the Dead. The result is a kind of jam band-lite, always pleasant to listen to, but never taxing. The influence that looms behind the immediate ones is the Beatles, not surprisingly, and when they get really ambitious, they touch on Steely Dan ("All Alone") or new age ambience ("Water Song"). They are held in check by the choice of making a studio album of newly written songs that haven't been road-tested yet, and it's easy to tell that these tunes will be stretched out considerably in live performance. That will give them more weight, certainly, but ALO still inclines toward a sunny attitude and a pop sound that makes them seem one of the less substantial of the new generation of jam bands.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann