April 20, 2005

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Matisyahu, Youth
Epic, 2006

Matisyahu disappoints by erasing every interesting element of his Hassidic reggae style with a cavalcade of bad dub-rock rip offs and re-released material, all after running what might be good music though a hojillion Flanger pedals and layering more audio effects than a Foley artist convention. It’s a new low in music one part crap and one part travesty — it’s a crapestry.

Matisyahu’s prior albums, the soulful and restrained Shake Off the Dust ... Arise and the energetic crowd pleasing Live at Stubbs highlighted this intriguing NYC hybrid’s spirituality, roots reggae soul and dub dancability. But that has left the building on Youth. The weakest elements of his music (namely the blatant Sublime song stylization and Phish jam directionlessness) take over and push aside the quirky beatboxing, micro-sermons and spirit lifting cantor. Youth runs about two minutes long as you’ll skip through near every track after a few seconds of “oh no, why?!?” on each. If there is a redeeming quality to Youth it’s opening track “Fire of Heaven/Altar of Earth” which manages to only seem awkward rather than horrid. The worst element? The echoed hammer blow sound that accompanies the lyric “Young man control in your hand/Slam your fist on the table/And make your demand/Take a stand” on Youth’s new single “Youth” which is surely bleeding ears across FNX as we speak. Matisyahu should get out of the studio and back on stage or just let loose with a mike and an acoustic guitar but please no more of this over-produced mess. And to boot, this Sony CD likely loads dangerous anti-piracy software on your computer! Yay! F-
— Glenn Given


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