Personnel: Dan Lebowitz (vocals, guitar, steel guitar); Zach Gill (vocals, ukulele, accordion, keyboards); Dave Brogan (vocals, drums); Steve Adams (vocals).
Audio Mixer: Mike Creswell.
Recording information: Allegiant Records, San Rafael, CA (01/2015-06/2015); Creativity Lounge, Goleta, CA (01/2015-06/2015); Good Dog Studios, SLC, UT (01/2015-06/2015); Leboland, San Francisco, CA (01/2015-06/2015); Ruebarb Flat, Oakland, CA (01/2015-06/2015).
Photographer: Jay Blakesberg.
The ninth studio long player from the veteran California-based quartet, Tangle of Time sees the Animal Liberation Orchestra up to their usual tricks, carving up genres and subgenres into little pieces and reassembling them into something that sounds both cosmopolitan and familiar. With only one song crossing the five-minute mark, the jam band label can only be applied loosely, but ALO's penchant for pairing clever noodling, odd instrumentation, and lyrics tinted with well-worn tie-dyed mysticisms will still likely result in the occasional pocket of wiggle dancers. That said, some of Tangle of Time's best cuts are straight-up soft rock club bangers, with the Soweto guitar-laced "The Ticket" veering dangerously into Daft Punk "Get Lucky" territory, and the equally smooth and piston-like "Coast to Coast" owing more than a cursory nod to Steely Dan. Elsewhere, the heartfelt, Zydeco-kissed "Sugar on Your Tongue" and the bluesy, self-effacing "Not Old Yet" go a long way in illuminating the contrast between bass player Steve Adams' offbeat songwriting style (the latter) and multi-instrumentalist Zach Gill's more traditional and earnest manner (the former), but for the most part, Tangle of Time sounds like a proper ALO outing, albeit with a decidedly sleeker pop sheen. ~ James Christopher Monger