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Taken from Budgeteer News (Sep 18, 2008)

Politics or no, Spearhead deserves your attention

by Matthew R. Perrine

Politics or no, Spearhead deserves your attention

Michael Franti
If all you know about Spearhead is frontman Michael Franti’s inclination to get all political on us, take heed: They know how to make records. And not just records that anyone with GarageBand on their computers can make. Real records. Ones that will stay with you for years.

Recorded in the home of reggae, Kingston, Jamaica, and co-produced by the legendary team of Sly & Robbie, “All Rebel Rockers” is what Top 40 radio would sound like if large corporations didn’t control the playlists. It doesn’t adhere to any one genre — it blurs the lines between hip-hop, rock and reggae — and, more importantly, it feels organic.

Franti and crew ease us into the experience with the relaxing “Rude Boys Back in Town” before breaking out the big guns with “A Little Bit of Riddim.” It’s instantly appealing, yet, thanks to Cherine Anderson’s guest rhymes and some light activism lyrics (“Do you remember the time before / Every day was a news of a holy war?”), it doesn’t make you want to instantly wash your ears out with soap. (What, club-ready tunes don’t do that to you?)

Other singles-in-waiting include the inspiring “Life in the City” and the dance party-approved “Soundsystem,” but the one I would finger for No. 1 smash hit would be “Hey World (Remote Control Version).” Like a cross between Grayskul’s bouncy “Scarecrow” and any given giddy OutKast hit, everything just seems to come together for four glorious minutes: From the perversely fun lyrics (“I didn’t come here to chill, I came here to rock / To smash the empire with my boom box”) to the top-notch production, this is it.

This is why we listen to music.

Watch the video for “Hey World (Remote Control Version)” at www.anti.com/artists/view/30.


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