Taken from The McGill Tribune (Nov 04, 2008)
Michael Franti & Spearhead
All Rebel Rockers
by Margot Bishop
Michael Franti the political activist will tell you about the things he does not like: mass media, war, crimes against humanity, and poverty. Franti the musician will tell you the same, but will do so behind a veil of enthusiastic and addictive hip-hop beats that transform into a reggae, funk, rock, and jazz fusion. On All Rebel Rockers, Michael Franti & Spearhead bring back their politically charged, feel-good dance songs that plea for peace and social justice. This album differs little from Spearhead's previous releases, including their last CD, Yell Fire, but Franti's loyal global fanbase will hardly mind. His songs are meant to inspire and genuinely spread the love, which these tracks succeed in doing.
Michael Franti's female accompaniment on several of the tracks disrupts the flow and seems out of place on the songs, making them a little too old-school, Salt-N-Pepa-esque. Franti just wants everyone to feel good, but he sneaks a little political conscience to the listener through lyrics driven by steal drums, ripping guitar riffs, and piano solos in songs like "Say Hey! (I Love You)."
Michael Franti is an act best experienced live, as some of the tracks that appear lyrically simplistic and repetitive on the album transform into hypnotic, dance songs that create a sense of community when fans sing along. With just the right beats, Franti will be able to coax even the worst dancer out onto the dance floor.