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Aloha’: Relaxed Summer Tunes

Kevin Noonan | Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I’ve always enjoyed the Guy Ritchie film “Rocknrolla,” despite critics and friends disagreeing with me. In the movie, one specific scene features two comical, drug-addled thieves/back alley salesmen attempt to sell a group of men a thick fur coat in summertime.
One salesman tries to circumvent the likely lack of demand by asserting, “I agree it doesn’t seem the right time of year to be acquiring a coat with such thermal efficiency, but Christmas is always around the corner.”
Gerard Butler’s character responds bluntly, “It is the middle of [expletive] summer.”
Cisco Adler’s debut solo album, “Aloha,” evokes a parallel emotion, only reversed. Adler made his name as a member of the alternative hip-hop duo Shwayze, and fans of Shwayze’s biggest hits will feel an identical vibe from this solo effort.
Fans of Mickey Avalon might also recognize Adler’s vocals, as he was featured one of Avalon’s biggest hits, “What Do You Say?” which was featured in the 2009 comedy “The Hangover.”
The album as a whole plays slow and relaxed, with percussion driving the steady pace throughout the record and giving the feel of beaches, palm trees and paradise.
And while it may not be the most original sound in the world, the warm weather, party-all-night-sleep-all-day smoothness of the sound would make for a solid summer soundtrack – if only the album had been released in June. Instead, the record was released on October 22, just as the last vestiges of warmth and color faded away into the grips of winter (somebody told me it snowed on campus Monday).
Adler did release an EP with a few of the tracks on this album in July, but the full record didn’t hit stories for another three months.
As said before, the album sounds almost exactly like almost all of Shwayze’s songs, so Adler is not venturing into any new territory here. The biggest difference is that while on Shwayze’s albums the verses almost entirely consist of the rapper Shwayze’s vocals, this record allows Adler to show off his lyrical ability in more than just the hook. The singers’ vocals have always maintained a chilled out, smooth vibe and that continues here.
With Shwayze’s hip-hop sensibilities and delivery removed, Adler’s songs edge close to Jack Johnson territory, and listening to the album it’s not hard to imagine Adler having a more similar sound to Johnson if he had grown up in Hawaii instead of Los Angeles.
Independent rapper G-Eazy is featured on the first two tracks, building a good bridge between the hip-hop centered efforts of Adler’s work with Shwayze and the more reggae-inspired work of his solo album. “Boom Boom Boom,” one of the two songs featuring G-Eazy, is one of the more dance-friendly songs on the album and a solid crossover track.
“The Good Life” exemplifies the album’s mood, featuring a slow beat, a catchy, laid back hook and lyrics about sunshine, California and happiness. “Waking Up in Paradise” is another memorable tune, with another slow beat and catchy hook. But it stands apart slightly, featuring southern blues-rock band “North Mississippi All Stars” which give the song a stronger blues feel than the rest of the album.
Maybe it isn’t the perfect time for a carefree summer album, but if anyone’s looking to escape the dull grays and bitter cold of the coming winter, “Aloha” isn’t a terrible to place to turn.
Contact Kevin Noonan at
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