Michael Franti and Spearhead: The Sound of Sunshine
[Capitol/Boo Boo Wax]
Franti finds his lost shaker of salt
Michael Franti has achieved a secret bonus level of hippie not available to most folks. He’s barefoot whenever not on a plane, organizes a massive annual festival of music and yoga, shot an anti-war documentary in the Middle East, is from the Bay Area, gets you a water when you interview him and produces, both alone and with Spearhead, soaringly crunchy love-is-all reggae-rock. A few minutes with a Franti record and the Indigo Girls start looking like Coulter and Michelle Bachmann. Franti’s last record, 2008’s All Rebel Rockers was a Kingston-recorded fire-hose of hooks and singalongs that used its birthplace’s lush, lovely vibe to soothe its occasional tales of hardship and poverty; Sunshine, as the title demands, essentially jettisons the hardship and poverty. As summery an album as you’ll hear all year, Sunshine will physically repel anyone wearing tight black jeans in your social circle, but others will find it an aggressively loose, reggae-kissed park barbecue that features a winningly warm, jangly title track, the frenetic club single “Shake It” and breezy, uncomplicated “Hey Hey Hey”; there’s even a glam-rock detour on the highly caffeinated “The Thing That Gets Me Through.” This is an album that’s best enjoyed with a sweating Red Stripe, at least 95% humidity and an abandonment of cares.