Bobby Alu - Take It Slow

Bobby Alu - Take It Slow

Bobby Alu's second album, Take It Slow, is like water. It flows clearly from track to track, with gliding rhythms and natural, sparkling instrumentation. But it's also sweet, like coconut water from the palm trees of the islands that the Brisbane singer-songwriter owes his music's roots. Take It Slow holds a mirror to relaxation, but just like a mirror, also exposes a few asymmetrical imperfections.

'Where are we going?' Anna Karina asks Jean-Paul Belmondo in Jean-Luc Godard's classic French film Pierrot le Fou. 'To Mystery Island,' he replies. 'To do what?' she asks. 'Nothing. Just exist,' he says. It's this kind of existence that Take It Slow has been written to soundtrack. Nothing leaps out unexpected. All is peaceful. As Tom Yorke sung, 'no alarms and no surprises'. Unlike York's plea for a carbon monoxide-filled darkness, though; Take It Slows is full of bright moments, as Alu creates a series of warm and breezy pop songs.

'Take It Slow', 'All The Way', and 'Siva Maria' all blend into the album, complementing each other the way the ocean does the sun. Meanwhile, tracks like 'Take It Or Leave It' and the accordion-touched 'So Dear' have more pop songwriting, destining themselves for mixtape immortalisation. 'Love You More' is then the capstone, and perhaps the most accessible world music song recorded since Johnny Clegg & Savuka's 'Dela' (see George of The Jungle).

A few tracks lag behind like a bad tow-line. 'Spending All My Credit' and 'Skipping Stones' suffer from forgettable songwriting, but the remaining tracks are divisive. 'Lima' and 'Fade', both long, instrumental bongo solos, isolate anyone who has not recently been part of a drum circle, or lived in Byron Bay. Their traditional rhythms do validate the album as 'roots', but pale in comparison to Alu's ukulele charm.

While Take It Slow may have been tighter without such tracks, they make it a love-letter to Alu's heritage. At times his enthusiasm for islander music aligns with his pop sensibilities and catchy hooks, and the results are refreshing. Despite being recorded in Brisbane's West End, it feels like it could have been recorded anywhere there is sunlight and sea. It's the kind of album that makes you want to spend time with your friends.

Watch the video for 'Love You More' below:

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