Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Negative Review of "Youth" in Boston Globe

The review actually doesn't talk about the music much except for the following few sentences:
"Youth" might be refreshing, even inspiring, if Matisyahu's delivery made up for his material. But his voice is reedy and strained, and his accent shifts from Caribbean to Hebrew to generic American with no discernible connection to the songs.

The band wanders out of reggae syncopation into rock with a similar lack of purpose. It feels like a preppy band that got through college on drugs and audience indulgence before finding religion.
I hear what the reviewer is talking about, but I disagree. The more hard-edged sound of "Live at Stubbs" was the CD's strength and weakness. It was a very attractive sound over the course of three or four songs, but it was a bit grating over the course of a whole CD. It was a dead-end. The softer and more varied sound of "Youth" seems to be an attempt to progress in a new direction. The results are indeed uneven, although not as unprofessional as the Globe reviewer would have you think. For now I am enjoying hearing "Jerusalem" and "Fire of Heaven/Altar of Earth" over and over again. The Globe reviewer concludes that "comparisons to the spirituality of a Bob Marley . . . are a wee bit premature." That's the trouble with Reggae: it all sounds the same unless you are Bob Marley--and practically nobody is. (Hat Tip: Mentalblog) Update: More on Matisyahu here and here.

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