Confusing, jarring and convoluted is the best way I could describe this album from Michael Franti and Spearhead and believe or not I was a huge fan of his earlier works and if you want to talk about antediluvian within his discography let talk about ‘The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy’ or an earlier formation of Spearhead via their 1994 release of ‘Home’ which sprung to mind tracks such as “Hole in the Bucket”, “People In Tha Middle” and “Positive.”
But place your thumb onto the fast forward button to the present and you come to a realization that ‘The Sound of Sunshine’ is probably the most underwhelming of album experiences from a veteran like Franti to have ever graced my ears personally.
Main problem with this release……it’s too fucking happy! Okay big whoop that the album is called ‘The Sound of Sunshine’ and smiles, ice cream and happy faces is what you envisioned, but the Spearhead I knew at least inject something that makes you think about the overall context of the music and subjectivity that mattered. I can’t find it in this!
For some odd reason within listening to this album, I can’t shake the fact that Ben Harper runs in my head as I continue to hear more of the tracks. Maybe I can put it down to the fact that these two gentlemen frequently visit NZ (Ben Harper owns a home here) or maybe they take their obsession of the indigenous Maori culture too far that they think they’re Maori themselves!
I theorize that it all came to a head when Michael took his shoes off for the better and made very sub par music upon entering the noughties. Someone should have said to him that wearing shoes was a requirement so you would make more sense in basic song construction and subject matter. Alright I’ll put it down to maturity and given the fact that he has family now so abandoning political agendas makes sense in hindsight, but that was the reason I liked Spearhead!
As for the album it’s okay….I initially was feeling tracks like ‘Shake it’ (with Lady Saw), ‘I’ll be waiting’, ‘The Only Thing Missing Was You’ and ‘Headphones.’ Everything else on the album was just meh but hey give me credit for the fact that I dug 4 out of the 12 tracks on this release.
Overall if you’re a Ben Harper fan or a Spearhead fan this is obliviously for you but until then I’ll only listen to his music if he puts his shoes on!