Agit-rap veteran mellows out too much on his fourth LP

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Michael Franti & Spearhead – Everyone Deserves Music

For 15 years, the socio-political message of Michael Franti has always been equally as important as his musical medium. Now he seems to be steering his once righteous and rootsy Spearhead toward MOR territory with this dilute mixture of dancehall reggae, calypso and bossa nova, underpinned by ’80s funk-rock dynamics.

Sly & Robbie throw their agreeably groovy weight behind “Bomb The World (Armageddon Version)”, but “Never Too Late” sounds like an unhappy mix of Randy Newman and Arrested Development, and sometimes Franti sounds like a clap-happy Seal.

Revolutionaries and relaxation are ill-suited, it seems.