(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Friday, January 9, 2009

CD review - Michael Franti and Spearhead, Yell Fire

I've been a big fan of Michael Franti for a long time. I first got turned onto the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy (which is also where I discovered Charlie Hunter). Then I found Spearhead more or less independently a little bit later. Spearhead has a strong reggae sense moderated by R&B with a moderate rap influence. Generally, Franti brings a left-leaning politically active lyrical perspective (which I'm totally comfortable with;-), although they can do some nice R&B influenced love songs

Anyway, on to this album. Yell Fire is a very nice groove-oriented album. A healthy mix of reggae, rap, and ballads. This album came after Franti had traveled to conflict areas in the mid-east. Lots of the positive message you'd expect along with being quite singable and danceable. This is my favorite Spearhead album to date (not counting Franti's Live from the Baobob). My favorite cut is either "East to the West", which is a nice rock steady groove with a nice rap, or "One Step Closer to You", a sweet reggae ballad that builds in intensity (and has a toasting intro).

Sip some Left Hand Juju ginger ale while you listen on some nice sunny afternoon.

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