Answer Your Calling
Joshua Alo
Joshua Alo
October 4, 2007

Track list
  1. Irie
  2. Angel
  3. Blind Guides
  4. Faith
  5. Stand Firm
  6. Answer Your Calling
  7. La Genese De
  8. Dreaming
  9. Light Over Darkness
  10. Paradise
  11. Almighty's Creation Solo Acoustic
  12. A Thing Called Love
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 3/4
Amongst the flood of releases we receive every week we stumbled across the cd "Answer Your Calling". It's the splendid debut album from Joshua Alo, who was born and raised on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. As a teenager, he began strumming the ukulele and acoustic six deep into the night on the rhythmic shores and hills of the island. In early 1999, Joshua enlisted in the U.S. Air Force which provided him a broad global experience and cultural understanding. Since then he has lived in Japan, Belgium, Italy and the Kingdom of Bahrain, traveled to 22 countries including 1 deployment to Oman and 2 to Iraq. Everywhere he goes he sings conscious acoustic roots reggae to anyone who will listen. He writes and sings from the depths of his heart bringing forth visions of his experiences, gained knowledge and insight from his walk of faith in a world of political and spiritual unrest where both truth and lie lay in front of our eyes.

The album itself was recorded with heartical Italians when he was stationed in Northern Italy. The production was originally set for recording in 2006 but the military sent him to Iraq delaying the project for a year. Upon his return he worked with Zion Love. The making of the album was not an easy task. He was working 13 hour shifts on his military job just to have compensation time enough to record the album in between. He was sick and simultaneously suffering from insomnia, sleeping only 30 minutes each night for 6 weeks and even through the 10 recording sessions which lasted 12-14 hours each day without pause, repose or sometimes food.

The result however is a fine 12 track album, containing some beautiful rootical flavored tunes, underpinned by a slow and traditional one drop reggae beat. The tempo gets very slow on some tunes, the adition of some more fast paced tunes would have resulted in a more balanced album. What strikes us is the sublime usage of the acoustical guitar in a lot of tunes.

The album opens with a fine song called Irie. After the nice upbeat intro the tempo slows down and Joshua starts singing about the 'love in our hearts' and 'positive vibrations'. Angel starts with an acoustic guitar solo before getting into the groove of drum and bass niceness! The same goes for Light Over Darkness with its subtle, yet effective electric guitar solo, though the organ part is nice as well!
One of the highlights here is Answer Your Calling. Joshua uses a transparent riddim, a deep bass and a chopping guitar upfront form the basis for his heartfelt vocals. Blind Guides belongs to our favourite tracks here! Dreaming has an exquisite vocal arrangement, check it out! The album closes with an impressive ballad - or should we say protest song? - called A Thing Called Love. It's only Joshua and his acoustic guitar delivering a worthy ending.

"Answer Your Calling" is a convincing set showing that Joshua Alo is a promise for the future. However we hope that Joshua's sophomore album will include some more uptempo tunes.