Music » CD Reviews

Matisyahu

Youth (EMI)

by

comment
Although Matisyahu has been around for a few years, the novelty factor is still high on his third album. After all, can you name another Orthodox Jewish dancehall star? But those who can handle a bespectacled, bearded, yarmulke-clad performer breaking it down, island stylee, will find that Youth quickly turns the idea of a Hasidic toaster from Brooklyn into a perfectly sensible proposition.

Maybe too sensible, in fact: Without the visuals, Youth comes off as well-crafted reggae that betrays little of its unique origins. World music pioneer Bill Laswell, who knows a thing or three about the structure of Jamaican music and how to mix it with other styles, is behind the boards, but the busy drumming takes certain tracks uncomfortably close to dub-rockers like Sublime. To appreciate the music requires some foreknowledge of Matisyahu: The similarities between his devotions and the Old Testament testifying of Rastafari are intriguing, and lend an unexpectedly authentic connection to this music's Caribbean inspirations. If only his dexterous toasts didn't go by so quickly as to render some of those prayers indecipherable.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club


Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.


Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.


Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.