Matisyahu: Youth

By Scott Kara, Reviewed by Scott Kara

Herald rating: * * *

There's a new boy on the block who could appeal to reggae lovers. Matisyahu is a Hasidic Jew from New York who performs in full Jewish regalia. His Live At Stubbs album, which was released here earlier this year, sold well.

The problem with Youth, his second studio album after 2004's Shake off the Dust ... Arise, is that it lacks the life of his debut and the vigour of his live performance.

Matisyahu's faith is no gimmick. Nevertheless, when you're listening to his music, the exuberance that is part of Hasidism makes him intriguing.

Sound harsh? Maybe that's because Matisyahu serves up as many righteous messages as his band delivers succulent grooves.

At times it's clumsy. The title track, Youth, trips into its chorus, which is a shame because the rumbling breakdown and psychedelic guitar nut-off that follows is inspirational.

The great thing about Matisyahu is that although he's espousing the benefits of Judaism he never seems to preach. If you like it, join him. If not, just listen and get down to his music.

Label: Sony/BMG

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