Long before mainstream act Matisyahu came on the scene with his modern take on reggae, the genre was being played with by Christian artist Christafari. As a Rastafarian-turned-Christian, lead vocalist Mark Mohr uses his music to reach those in the Rastafarian culture. And with his new album, he tries to take things back To The Foundation.
Reggae is a pretty basic form of music. A simple drum beat, the same note on the guitar plucked over and over again, and some bass. Now throw in some horns for good measure, and you have almost every reggae song. Granted, some songs are more complex, but for the most part, it's usually pretty simple. And that's what you get on To The Foundation. It's hard to tell a lot of the songs apart without having the song title readily available, though a couple tracks do have a different feel than the rest. "The Prodigal" has more of a ska vibe, with its faster pace, and "Rooftop" could be referred to as reggaeton. Even a bit of Spanish flair makes its way into the mix on the album closer, "Triumphal Entry."
Even a lot of the lyrics are unimaginative. Mark felt the need to address cannibalism, which is a big issue in tropical regions of the world. "Too Many Cannibals" says, "Cannibalism, it is a terrible t'ing, it is a dreadful t'ing, if you know what I mean." In "Fear Not," one portion of the song says, "Fear not, strike while the iron is hot, so are you ready for the revolution, are you ready to be the solution... no time for hesitation, or procrastination, why put off till tomorrow what you can do today?" Sometimes people need a "call to arms" anthem that will get them pumped without needing intricate lyrics, but I don't think Christafari has accomplished that with this song (or any of the other songs for that matter).
Despite the lack of lyrical depth or musical complexity, reggae does have an appealing sound, and this album isn't too bad if you take it one or two songs at a time. However, To The Foundation will be most appreciated by fans of artists such as reggae pioneer Bob Marley and reggae-influenced Jack Johnson. Even fans of artists like The OC Supertones and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones just might like bits and pieces of Christafari's latest effort.- Review date: 1/2/08, written by Scott Fryberger
Record Label: Lion Of Zion Entertainment
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