Sound: What it takes to make to make lemonade -- fresh lemon juice, water and sugar -- mix it and cool in the fridge. As simple as that G. Love makes his new record Lemonade mixing a non-alcoholic drink of blues, R&B and hip-hop. With a 12-year experience on the scene, G. Love has polished his sound, made it recognizable and original. He knows exactly what he wants with every next record and he knows what it takes. The current release, Lemonade, out August 2006, is a perfect soundtrack for your summer adventures -- just like a cooling summer breeze it's got the same refreshing feel.
Even though the album cover doesn't say anything about the band, Lemonade was recorded with the support of Love's permanent backing act Special Sauce, and this is the seventh alum by the artist. G. Love's got the talent to do simple things with a great taste of style. Just like it's mild yellow album cover with a lemon, there's nothing excessive in the music -- it's very light with only necessary components. Warm volume bass and soft drums create a funky groove that goes all through the album. It's the base for all other instruments -- acoustic guitar, country harmonica and a little bit of bluesy piano that all add color to the music. The songs' verses are very alike to each other as being made in the same manner -- a couple piano chords as a background, a few simple guitar lines and not a very difficult melody laid upon. The difference is in what Garrett G. Love Dutton is telling us about. The chilly pepper though is hidden in the choruses -- that's where G. Love shows his best -- the choruses are catchy and always individual.
The only exception from the plain verse/catchy chorus is Can't Go Back to Jersey -- even though G's not actually singing any melody here, both the chorus and the verses are memorable. The track is gonna bring you some good memories about G's self-titled debut album. Swaggering tracks like the opener Ride being less on hip-hop side, remind you of easy-going Dave Matthews Band songs. There's a whole list of guests on the album -- Blackalicious, Lateef The TruthSpeaker, Tristan Prettyman, Marc Broussard, Jack Johnson, Ben Harper and Jasper. G. Love managed to fit them wonderfully into his album and they only add to the music unique so-called "Philadelphonic" sound. // 8
Lyrics: Musically primitive verses are done on purpose -- this way you pay more attention to lyrics. Even though G. Love doesn't reveal any secrets, nor tell us something we've never heard before, he still keeps the things interesting. The songs are about something we've all been through -- listening to the lyrics you can be like damn, that's just how I feel! Like fantasizing about dating Keira Knightly...
G. Love is more playing with intonation than actually singing, borrowing all those weird sounds from rap. It's his manner of da instead of the and I've-got-no-front-teeth mellow way of singing that add a certain flavor to music and create his own seal. Sometimes he does falsetto vocals which sound funny and touchy. // 7
Overall Impression: The majority of tracks is catchy in a similar way and you might get lost which verse and chorus is from which song. There's another weak point that the artist is carrying from record to record -- most songs just don't go anywhere -- they start in this chill-out jamming mood and end in the same wonderful chilling way without any evolving. It's not too obvious though as Love knows how to bring the difference into this seemingly monotonous genre.
It's obvious that Philadelphia-based band (which besides G. Love is also Jimmy Jimi Jazz Prescott (bass) and Jeff Houseman Clemens (drums)) feels each other greatly now as they sound solid. The production very professional too -- the album keeps that live feeling though being very though-out at the same time. Making the record, G. Loved hoped that his music would uplift people and it seems he pretty much achieved what he was aiming. G. Love is definitely maturing as an artist and Lemonade is some kind of a triumph for him -- it is his best first week sales. // 8