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Taken from GuelphMercury (October 14, 2010)

GuelphMercury - Franti really is a day at the beach

by Michael Barclay, for NightLife

Michael FrantiMichael Franti & Spearhead
The Sound of Sunshine (EMI)

It’s hard to imagine a more apt title for an album that sounds out of place anywhere but on a beach “with the waves in motion and everything smelling like suntan lotion.”

Michael Franti may have built his reputation as a politically active songwriter, but here’s he’s never anything less than a purveyor of positivity, whistling while he walks, and bathing in the beauty of the world. Franti has always been an inspiring figure, on stage and lyrically, but rarely has he ever sounded so completely blissed out as he does here, even while he recognizes that all is not well. “Today I’m just glad to be alive,” he sings on Gloria, an arm-waving anthem where he counts his blessings and his loved ones rather than surrender the tribulations of the troubled world outside.

Spearhead’s musical mandate continues to mine reggae, soul, and pop, but they’re slightly less successful as a rock band; The Thing That Helps Me Get Through sounds more than a bit like Lenny Kravitz, albeit on a good day. With recording done in Bali, Jamaica, San Francisco and in various hotel rooms, it’s no wonder the album sounds like it was made beside a beach — it probably was.


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