For years Aloe Blacc was a one hit wonder known for being broke (Geddit? ‘Cause he ‘Needed a Dollar’!?). It was only when he signed a deal with the devil (or “collaborated”) with Swedish DJ Avicii on ‘Wake Me Up’ that he achieved mainstream success. And what a success that was, peaking at number one in 22 countries.
Now with momentum on his side, Aloe returns to his soulful roots on his third album ‘Lift Your Spirit’.
‘Wake Me Up’ opens proceedings in a more subdued form than we’re used to, illustrating how cracking a tune it is, even without Avicii’s signature beats behind it.
Second single ‘The Man’ has already gone top ten in Australia and is a good indicator of the rest of the album; it is classy, empowering and incredibly soulful.
This sound is further exemplified on the Motown-esque title track, which sounds a bit like a modern take of the Jackson 5’s ‘ABC’. Aloe also flirts with his inner Justin Timberlake on the killer ‘Love Is The Answer’; another obvious highlight. We also liked the funky ‘Soldier In The City’ and powerful mid-tempo ‘Here Today’.
‘Lift Your Spirit’ may be a short 11 tracks, but it ends with the lengthy ‘Eyes Of A Child’. And whilst songs over the five minute mark can tend to be a bit indulgent, ‘Eyes Of A Child’ works because it is both simpler yet grander than everything that precedes it. It is the perfect ending to the album, beautifully catching its spirit.
Aloe may be known for his lyrics of despair but there is an underlying joy to his musicality, and it is this joy that makes ‘Lift Your Spirit’ such a charming album.
Download: The Man, Love Is The Answer, Life Your Spirit, Eyes Of A Child