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Roses and Clover 

Animal Liberation Orchestra

Brushfire; Release date: May 1, 2007

The Deal: Cali liberation team loosens you up.

The Good: You can call it pop, but it's got more rocking guts than most of the stuff you usually find in that bin. "Maria" has an Allman Brothers feel. "Try" is Cali white boy reggae with a grotty organ solo that'd be at home in the real thing. "Plastic Bubble" sounds like a Paul Simon song -- but it works and doesn't sound dated. "Lady" channels Paul Thorn, with a gospel-tent-revival feel boosted by a good dose of funky wah-wah. Although they tour with Dave Mathews, their music is not as herky-jerky. The four-part harmonies are impeccable and the music seems effortless.

The Bad: Can't find anything.

The Verdict: The only thing ALO has to do with pop is that once you pop it in your music maker, you'll have a hard time taking it out. This stuff is liberating, but it stays with you.

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