By Mark Jenkins
Friday, February 22, 2013
Producer-performer Cisco Adler is high on existence, but that doesn’t mean he rejects chemical aids. His amiably languid solo debut, “Aloha,” invokes all sorts of intoxicants, especially the ones commonly sipped at island resorts. Most often, though, his mix of reggae, hip-hop and alt-rock is tipsy with romance: “You’re like a new drug / I want to try you,” Adler sings on “Try You,” blending his two avocations in one of his livelier songs.
Adler is rapper Shwayze’s collaborator, the onetime singer of the Southern-rock band Whitestarr and a show-biz scion. His father, Lou Adler, produced Carole King’s “Tapestry” and, perhaps more pertinently, directed Cheech and Chong’s “Up in Smoke.” There’s a bit of Cheech in the younger Adler, who celebrates easygoing hedonism in such catchy, shallow ditties as “Classic” (about “beautiful girls”) and “Boom Boom Boom” (about getting those girls to dance).
“Aloha” features such guest stars as rapper G-Eazy, reggae singer Don Carlos and roots-rockers G. Love and the North Mississippi Allstars. Yet most of the songs are built simply, from acoustic-guitar vamps, elementary keyboard struts and trash-can electrobeats.
Adler capably assembles these elements but only intermittently endows the resulting grooves with much personality. Too many of Adler’s laid-back songs just shuffle lazily down the beach.