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Taken from CHARTattack (Oct 07, 2010)

Michael Franti & Spearhead — The Sound Of Sunshine

by Kate Harper (CHARTattack)

Album: The Sound Of Sunshine
Label: Capitol/EMI
Rating: 2.5 / 5

Michael FrantiMichael Franti's always been a refreshing voice in the peace movement, which is often ironically full of negativity and people railing at politicians for everything they see as wrong in the world.

Franti's records, though they've spoken out against war, have been more about bridging the divides between both sides holding guns than yelling at them. His ability to keenly meld reggae, rap and rock together has made his music even more accessible and made him appealing to many different people.

Franti started his career with Spearhead on Capitol Records, but left the label by the time 2001's Stay Human came out. But the appearance of 2009 single "Say Hey (I Love You)" on the U.S. charts practically ensured his next record would come out on a major again.

Unfortunately, Franti seems to have dumped talking about political issues in favour of Jack Johnson-esque beach surfer anthems on The Sound Of Sunshine. The traces of the genre-bending in his previous records are far less pronounced, too.

While a tune like the title track might be catchy, its problem is it doesn't actually say anything and is about as deep as a layer of wallpaper. And though Franti's always acknowledged and paid homage to his influences, it's kind of sad to hear him mercilessly cribbing from U2's "Bad" on "I'll Be Waiting." The Sound Of Sunshine is ultimately a record that feels very stripped thin.

The world needs more people like Michael Franti, but it needs less records like this.


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