Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson, the Hawaiian surfer and filmmaker who makes laid-back acoustic music is perfect for a barbeque or a day at the beach, returns with "In Between Dreams," and delivers a sound identical to his previous two albums.

Don't go into this album expecting to hear significant musical growth or maturation on Johnson's part. In fact, that would contradict his entire style and ideology. Johnson doesn't make music to grow and mature in his craft. He makes music because he loves strumming his guitar, and he could care less what any critic thinks about it. Because so many of the songs are similar, most of them are good. Particularly, "Staple it Together" finds Jackson leaning to a slightly more funky sound, while the piano on "Good People" gives the song a depth and rich texture that Johnson should consider doing more often. The only real forgettable track is the brief "Situations," which sounds like Johnson playing his guitar in a tin can while trying to create David Bowie-type lyrics. The song breaks the flow of the album and is among Johnson's worst.

Still, if you like Johnson's other albums, there's no reason why you won't enjoy this one. On the other hand, if you don't like Johnson's previous albums, there's absolutely nothing on this album that will change your mind. Johnson has gotten by on three albums now with the same exact sound and using nearly identical melodies. One just hopes this relaxed groove he has developed doesn't sound stagnant by the fourth.

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