Review: Matisyahu – Spark Seeker

Review: Matisyahu – Spark Seeker

Matisyahu – Spark Seeker
1.) Crossroads (Feat. J. Ralph)
2.) Sunshine
3.) Searchin
4.) Buffalo Soldier (Feat. Shyne)
5.) Fire of Freedom
6.) Bal Shem Tov
7.) I Believe In Love
8.) Breathe Easy
9.) Summer Wind
10.) Live Like A Warrior
11.) Tel Aviv’n
12.) King Crown of Judah (Feat. Shyne and Ravid Kahalani)
13.) Shine On You

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: July 17th, 2012
Record Label: Fallen Sparks Records
Official Website: Matisyahu Website

Group Background:
Matisyahu, the man that once sported the wide-brimmed hat, full facial hair and traditional garments of Hasidic Jewish culture, caught the eyes of many intrigued music fans in the mid 2000s, but his look was not the only high point to standout. A fresh voice of prosperity hit the airwaves, which began to attract a devoted and loyal audience at his performances.

The release of Live at Stubbs in 2005, which peaked at #1 on the Billboard Reggae Charts and #14 on Billboard’s Rap Charts, his music went mainstream with the hit single “King Without A Crown”.

The following year, Matisyahu released his second studio album titled, Youth that trumped the chart success of the previous year’s release. After releasing two albums on the same day in August of 2009 titled, Light and Live at Twist & Shout, in 2011, Matisyahu returned to the place where his success spawned with Live at Stubbs, Vol. 2, this time with his current backing band Brooklyn, New York’s Dub Trio. Now with Spark Seeker set to be released, the world will feel and hear the ever-burning passion.

Album Review:
The instant the album begins, the listener realizes no modifications have been made within Matisyahu’s faith and values, exuding loud and clear within Spark Seeker’s opening track “Crossroads”. The understanding of a deeply felt chant crosses over all religious barriers. That distinct opening leads directly into the sounds of the world, and a voice that transcends country borderlines. Whether Matisyahu is singing or rapping, his message could still reach the hard of hearing citizens of any nation. Spark Seeker’s first single, “Sunshine” has already hit radio stations nationwide, but the album opener could easily fill that role.

Musically, Spark Seeker is shaped out of a completely different mold than his mainstream release Live at Stubbs. Obviously, the crowd background and concert emotion is not there, but the energy within Matisyahu’s voice is ever-present. Also, the backing band of Dub Trio is not featured on the more modern, hip-hop oriented album, but that doesn’t take the fondness away. Many of the songs on the album could be classified as dance tracks, but there is still the presence of reggae within the album’s music.

Matisyahu’s sound has always given off an earthy feel, and even with electronic beats and surgically placed samples, the album melds together with more natural instruments like mandolin chords in certain intros, for example, “Summer Wind” and other string instruments melded with percussions, shakers and even a saxophone featured on the album’s finale, “Shine On You” and “Summer Wind”.

Along with “Shine On You”, some of Spark Seeker’s highlights included “Believe In Love”, the aforementioned “Crossroads,” which features J. Ralph on vocals and harmony, “Buffalo Soldier”, which is not a cover of Marley’s classic tune, but still a gem. The latter track features hip-hop rapper Shyne, and is one of the more dance-heavy tracks on the album, and it certainly will get the floor bouncing wherever the track is played.

For traditional reggae-rock fans, this might not be the typical booming bass lines, pounding drums and gentle upstrokes on the six-string guitar type of album, but within reggae music the message has always been the most powerful instrument on hand. And, with a microphone in Matisyahu’s hand, listeners’ ears will definitely perk up with Spark Seeker playing.

Written & Reviewed By: Kris Siuta

[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer, expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, not the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]

Here’s the official music video & first single off of Spark Seeker with the song “Sunshine”. Enjoy the video…