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Taken from UCD Advocate (September 10, 2003)

Album Cuts - Everyone Deserves Music

Michael Franti and Spearhead
Boo-Boo Wax/ Artists Direct

by Stephen Polk

Michael Franti Michael Franti and Spearhead have continually proven that a mix of activism and music can form an immutable conglomeration of beauty and strength. On their most recent release, Everyone Deserves Music, the band focuses on peace, love, compassion, and hope. From the songs "Pray for Grace" to "Love Invincible," one can't help but feel the strong emotions that act as tenants of the political left, reminiscent of the 1960's cultural revolution, albeit without all the drugs.

With a few record label changes behind them and the creation of their own imprint, Boo-Boo Wax Records, Michael Franti and Spearhead have moved from the forefront of indie hip-hop to become favorites of the jam band, reggae and soul inspired scenes as well.

Stemming from their veteran status, Michael Franti and Spearhead offer a tight and peculiarly sounding album. Still, the disc is somewhat over-produced, representing a schism between their album sound and their powerful live performance. The use of in-studio effects - such as the de-emphasis of instrumental bravado - the absence on most tracks of Radio Active (an amazing beatboxer/vocalist), and the addition of unusual noises and sounds may turn some people away.

After a few listens, however, one easily falls in love with the spiritually satisfying music that welds gratifying lyrics to intense rhythms. With Everyone Deserves Music, Michael Franti and Spearhead have lived up to their reputation as cultural warriors whose targets include war, hatred, and pessimism. Their victories are for peace, love, hope, and an unassailable desire to dance.


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