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Music reviews from Eagle County

Daily Staff ReportVail CO, Colorado

All Rebel Rockers ANTI-4 stars of 5Michael Franti & Spearhead have the look of a reggae band, but dont be fooled. Although there is a solid reggae influence seared into the bands music, they bring much more to the table.Their latest album, All Rebel Rockers, is heavy on the reggae, for sure after all, it was recorded at Anchor Studios in Kingston, Jamaica by noted reggae producers Sly and Robbie but its not a reggae album. For instance, the electric power chords behind the chorus of Life in the City are pure anthem rock while the beat of Hey World is straight up dance-floor hip-hop. The Motown-influenced piano-rocking single Say Hey is a pop delight and I Got Love For You is an up-tempo calypso-flavored ballad.Of course theres the standard reggae and dub stuff like Rude Boys Back In Town and All I Want Is You, but it doesnt compare to the genre-mixing songs on the album.Frantis message of peace, love and standing up to tyranny is still intact and permeates All Rebel Rockers. In one of the albums finer lyrical moments, Franti takes a swipe at all thats wrong with American culture in the song The Future. They take all your privacy give it away/ and for musical piracy lock you away/ they tell you the war is a permanent thing/ and American Idol kids really can sing. Ahhh, Bob Marley couldnt have said it better himself. Charlie Owen, High Life writer

Promise of Summer Foreverything Music2 stars of 5This album, the first Jackopierce CD of original material in 12 years, starts out with a rambunctious guitar and drum intro and lyrics like Im an open book, shes a mystery/ Im black coffee and shes sweet tea, on the song Everything Im Not, but then quickly turns into an ode to late 90s pop artists like Sister Hazel and The Wallflowers, which, given the decade long lapse in time, sounds oddly nostalgic.Promise of Summer isnt the next Cracked Rear View, but it is a fun album full of quick-paced, hook-laced songs that tend to hit the listener right where they intend: The heart strings.The duos (Jack ONeill and Cary Pierce, hence Jackopierce) ties to Texas country are ever-present, especially on songs like Texas, where shades of the band Restless Heart are revealed in the lyrics If I could just get home to Texas/ If I could hold you in my arms tonight/ The way we used to do/ When we were young and reckless/ Give me just one night to set it right.For all of the influences noticeable on Promise of Summer the boys do a great job making them into something fun and entertaining. As its title claims, Promise of Summer sounds like the soundtrack to the summers when we were young enough to focus on living life without caring about consequences. Charlie Owen, High Life writer

Forth On Your Own/MRI/Red2.5 starsPeople take drugs for two reasons: Because they desire something utterly predictable, or just the opposite. Bands like the Verve, a mainstay of Englands psychedelically inclined 1990s rock scene, romanticized the first outcome in songs culled from free-form jam sessions and lyrics, by pretty preacher Richard Ashcroft, about shouting down inner demons in a struggle to perfect the soul.But the Verves most successful songs came closer to the second kind of chemical experience. Expansive but solid at the core, the bands commercially-friendly rock produced the desired effect: Ashcrofts comforting platitudes reduced emotional inflammation, while Nick McCabes forceful guitar effect (supported by a no-nonsense rhythm section) cleared the head like an antihistamine.This comeback album (after eight years apart, the group reunited in 2007, triumphantly claiming the Coachella main stage this spring), is as solid as a dose of Extra Strength Tylenol. Balancing McCabes love of athletic jamming with Ashcrofts bardic aspirations, Forth is centered on slowly building jams that pay off in transcendent choruses; a few shorter, more popwise songs, like the single Love Is Noise, follow the precedent of the bands one huge international hit, the sample-happy Bittersweet Symphony.Like many an English lad before him, Ashcroft puts the sneer into soul; his fine-sandpaper voice tempers the musics heavenward thrust. Its satisfying, this blend of the angelic and the blokeish, but on Forth it never feels very urgent or original. If an anthem deficiency is what ails you, this album is a perfectly useful over-the-counter treatment. Just dont expect the trip to take you anywhere new. Ann Powers, L.A. Times, Washington Post


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