RS: 3of 5 Stars Average User Rating: 4of 5 Stars


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The whirlwind of attention surrounding twenty-six-year-old Matthew Miller -- better known as the reggae newcomer Matisyahu -- can partly be attributed to the fact that the world has never seen a Hasidic Jew rocking payos side-locks and the mike with equal devotion. Youth, his major-label debut, arrives amid numerous high-profile slots at reggae festivals and a cameo on P.O.D.'s recent track "Roots in Stereo."

Much of the time, Matisyahu sounds like the former Phish-following high school dropout from White Plains, New York, that he is. His voice is nimble but reedy, his choruses generally given over to starchy platitudes like "You can't sew a stitch with one hand while you're taking it apart." His band plays one-drop roots reggae like a group of Jam Cruise vets, turning up the heat for the sizzling dancehall of "Jerusalem," where Matis pledges, "If I forget you/Then my right hand forgets what it's supposed to do," before quoting Matthew Wilder's 1983 cornball hit "Break My Stride."

"Shalom/Salaam" is a beautiful nylon-string guitar and beatbox interlude, and "What I'm Fighting For" is an acoustic number that wouldn't earn a subway busker two bits. The immensely likable and uplifting "Unique Is My Dove" finds Matis pledging "one woman for me" in a surprising, soulful croon. "WP" (which stands for White Plains) is the most lyrically attractive track: Matis speaks directly about how his teenage frustrations found an outlet rhyming on the playground. "King Without a Crown," the track that spun on alt-rock radio and got last year's Live at Stubb's album selling, is rerecorded here as the album closer. It's still by far Matisyahu's best, catchiest song, his high, wordless wail commanding the spirit's attention, before he cries, "I want Moshiach now!" -- the album's most forthright expression of his Lubavitch faith. While Youth is certainly worth a listen, the most exceptional thing about Matisyahu remains the most circumstantial.


(Posted: Mar, 28 2006)


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Review 1 of 1

1 of 2 found this comment useful ( 50% )

dewaele1 writes:

5of 5 Stars

Youth is a great album. Although it lacks the live quality that live at stubbs had. Also the king without a crown remix sucked. It would be better album if was live like that last one, but the rest of the songs on it are great and match the sound of the last one. So would recommend to buy it because it is good reggae.

Apr, 9 2006 18:58:10

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