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Taken from Billboard (July 25, 2006)

Yell Fire!

Music Album Review

by Jeff Vrabel

Michael FrantiPartially recorded in Kingston, Jamaica, with Chris Blackwell, "Yell Fire!" is part of a thematic trilogy that includes the film and book "I Know I'm Not Alone," which document Franti's recent visits to Iraq, Israel and Palestine. That's a lot of ground for anyone to cover, but his ambitions pay off on this strapping, if sprawling, collection. Franti wastes no time getting to the point: opener "Time to Go Home" brandishes enough slogans to populate an entire anti-war rally. Despite its framing device, "Yell Fire!" leaves time for some geographically appropriate reggae ("Hello Bonjour," featuring Sly & Robbie), danceables ("Hey Now Now") and unapologetically optimistic ballads ("One Step Closer to You"). And though Franti puts those fierce politics first, he also neatly distills the diverse styles he's visited throughout an ever-impressive career. —Jeff Vrabel


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