RETURN TO DISCOGRAPHY
You can tell right from the opening track that this isn’t going to be one of those typical CD’s. The music completely distinguishes itself from many of the Yeshivish style shiny shoe artists who recently released new CD’s. I didn’t review any of those CD’s because none of them really did anything for me.
On Yitzy’s album the songs have real feeling to them, and the fact that he himself plays different instruments and composes all his own music shows itself in his album. Let me go through the songs one by one and then do a final recap at the end.
Tzur – This is one of my favorite songs on the album. I think Yitzy needed to make a strong showing right from the start and he did that and more. Tzur is a powerhouse of a song and the vocals back up the strong musical presence. It’s one of the songs I found myself right away singing along with.
Acheinu – I heard this song on the Sameach Podcast and right away decided that I might like this album. The song has so much depth and maturity. This is not just some song bought off the bland Jewish music song black market. It’s a song he himself composed and you can really get a sense from the non typical vocal arrangements what you can expect from the rest of the album. Unlike Aryeh, I did not have any problems with this song being re-sung. It was originally on Six 13′s album and for various reasons I’m glad he sung it again here. I also think Shalsheles had every right to sing their Shir Hamalos that was on Yaacov Youngs album again. I can understand a composer wanting to sing their own song on their album. I think you get a better sense of how the song was intended when you hear the composer sing it.
Mi Sheshikein – This song shows that there won’t be any specific style on the album. I love that each song has the courage to take different directions. It’s not as strong as Tzur, but it’s a nice fast song with some great guitars from the amazingly talented Avi Singolda. I also love the detail put into the CD booklet. The CD cover is really nice, but the individual pages for each song really make this a fun musical experience. There is an adorable little hand drawn house near the lyrics for Mi Sheshikein which includes the words “The one who cause His name to dwell in this house”, great choice for lyrics. Each page is custom done to match the lyrics, a real nice touch.
You and I (or “you and i) is a really well done English song. I can’t stand English songs but this is really soft and shows lots of heart. It does go on a bit long and I think the lyrics could have been tightened up, but overall the song is pretty good. It’s also another great example of Yitzy’s vocals carrying a great song.
L’maan Achai goes right back to that strength that Tzur provided. The screeching guitars by Avi Singolda really add a great deal to this song. It’s got a good beat, very catchy lyrics and oh, did I mention awesome guitar by Avi Singolda?? I also have to mention the drums by Avi Avidani, which compliment both the song and Singolda’s style. Yitzy hits a home run with this song vocally, he owns this song. He could have mailed it in because every other part of the track is amazing, but he makes it one of the best songs on the album by rounding out with excellent vocals. (Did I mention the genuis guitar by Singolda?)
Lefonai – This is a perfect example of the diverse musical styles this album contains. I love the doo doo duwap, finger snapping intro. It’s this type of distinct personality that Yitzy gives these songs that make this album stand out from the Dachs and Prusansky types. I know these are some of the same musicians a lot of Shiny shoe types are using now, but when they are so amazingly talented, why wouldn’t you use them? Especially when the song compositions allow them to really let loose. Yaron Gershovsky has some really fun Piano work in the background and the trombone by Eric Goletz and Danny Flam along with Trumpet by Gary Guzio make this a musical feast for the ears. Yitzy sings it really nice and I give him credit for such an out of left field song.
Peeha – This is a song that you’d more typically find on “regular” albums, but Yitzy’s vocals add so much to this song. This song has tons and tons of spirit, Yitzy carries the entire song with his vocals alone. Of course it helps that he has a great choir and beautiful strings backing him up. It was at this point in the album that I realized I was gonna be a big fan of Yitzy’s. Every song up until this point hit a spot with me. If you want proof of Yitzy’s vocal credibility look no further then the last two minutes of this song, especially at the 4:10 mark.
Modeh Ani – I like the concept behind doing this type of Caribbean Moden Ani. It’s bright, it’s happy, birds singing, waves crashing, thanking Hashem for returning our souls, but … this song does NOT work for me at all. I’m sorry, it’s a skipper.
Shalom Aleichem – This song also didn’t really do it for me. I don’t really hear the tune in it, I just hear the music, although the music is great. This song sounds like everyone is just having a good time with their instruments. I love the Saxophone, Clarinet and Flute used in this song. So yes, the music portion is fun, but the overall tune doesn’t quite do it for me.
Neshoma – Just when you think Yitzy is starting to run out of good songs, this one knocks you off your feet. The arrangements (and more stand out saxophone and trumpets) compliment Yitzy’s stunning vocals. This is a song that matches up nicely with Acheinu in that Yitzy shows tremendous maturity and range with his voice. This is one of the stand outs on the album.
Oseh Shalom – This is one wild song, it’s the obligatory “Sephardi style” song, but it’s done very well. This song was produced in Turkey (source: Sameach Podcast interview) and there really are some wild arrangements. I don’t find it one of the strongest songs structurally, but the music and vocals carry the song.
Avraham Yagel – The album closes out on a strong note (pun intended.) Everything that I enjoyed in this album can be found in this closing song. Yitzy’s vocals once again stand out, the song is a great composition, Yaron kicks loose once again on the Piano and someone named Rich Arrigo takes over at Guitar with impressive results. I like the build up, slow down and build up that the song structure follows. It’s a good closing song to a good album.
Overall – I think every once in a while someone comes along that deserves a real chance. Many times we come upon these new singers and just assume it’s more of the same, but when we actually listen, sometimes we are pleasantly surprised. I could tell from the previews and advanced musical press that I would be interested in this album. Yitzy takes a genre that often uses the same old boring choices and infuses it with style, diversity and phenomenal vocals.
I recommend buying this CD and giving it a real honest try. I look forward to what comes from this new talented artist.