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Zach Gill is the singer and keyboard player and one of the main songwriters of the Animal Liberation Orchestra, and the songs on this, his first solo effort, have the bright laid-back ALO vibe that you'd expect from that band. There's not much jamming; each tune is delivered simply in Gill's warm and insinuating tenor with tight arrangements that touch down all over the pop spectrum to deliver their cheerful messages. Even when he's singing about the troubles of love, Gill's boundless optimism shines through. He's also a humorous songwriter, striking hard to find balance between comedy and sincerity without ever coming across like a sap or a sentimental fool. "Don't Touch My Stuff" is a good example of his approach. Its slow reggae groove, with just a hint of Brazilian percussion, will sound familiar to any married man who fights with his wife over the housekeeping chores. "What you call a mess," he croons, "is just my organizational system." Sweet falsetto backing vocals accent his running catalog of the junk that clutters his room. It's a tongue-in-cheek ode to inefficiency. "Bettina" is part tango, part Latin R&B, a jaunty love song peppered by a playful percussion track. The dramatic keyboard textures of "Poseidon's Navel" seem to hint at a big artistic statement, but the song is about a skinny-dipping sea god showing off his physique. "Family" is a bit of New Orleans funk with excellent keyboard work, a killer hook, and an uplifting message about the ups and downs of family life. On "SMALL" he investigates the many ways love can go wrong with insight and understanding, while the instrumental "Lizard's Bridge" is a rock & roll dub tune, with spacy effects and a melody that moves between classical piano figures and melancholy melodica lines to produce a moody, late-afternoon soundscape. "Long" closes the album with a cosmic, expansive love song delivered by Gill's smooth tenor and rippling acoustic guitar, another ray of musical sunshine that will brighten up even the gloomiest disposition.
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