Reviewed by Lori Fox
To the Foundation by Christafari
"Christafari hasn't missed a beat ... To The Foundation will please old fans and new."
After nearly 20 years of making and producing Gospel Reggae, Christafari hasn't missed a beat. Their new album To The Foundation will please old fans and new.
While To The Foundation doesn't reach the same power and heat that Soul Fire (1995) had, it rocks just a bit harder than Valley of Decision (1999), which had an easier, more Caribbean sound. It isn't until Gravity (2003) was released that Christafari began to reach this matured, grounded sound.
While I do miss the deep, growling sound vocalist, producer, and founder Mark Mohr had, most notably in Soul Fire, the passion that fuels him comes through all the stronger for the lack of shouted vocals, and for the first time I've been able to fully appreciate the motivation behind each song.
The song that demonstrates this best is track 14, “Too Many Cannibals”. It wasn't until I heard the phrase "it seems the sheep are more dangerous than the wolves" that the meaning of the song really clicked for me. As Christians, it's so common to bicker among ourselves, attack each other, and try to bring each other down. We do more damage to ourselves and each other than anyone else could ever do. Skillfully, Mark points this out in such a way that you can't miss it if you actually listen to the words.
As for the sound, I found “Rooftop” surprisingly danceable despite the deeper nature of the lyrics, and “Never Give Up” has a nice, slow groove to it. There are a number of featured artists such as Avion Blackman, Mr. Lynx, and Ace Winn, among others, that lend each song its own flavor, while still blending smoothly into one strong album.
For those who are unfamiliar with Christafari, but who enjoy reggae as a whole, I noticed some outside influences. Much of that comes from the featured artists, but I did notice that “Triumphal Entry” and “Never Give Up” seemed to have a bit of influence from the Black Eyed Peas. Or perhaps it's the other way around. Christafari has been highly influential in the music world for many years and some of the influence may have come full circle.
In all, I rate this CD very highly for fans of Christafari. Their music has evolved over the years, but while I would rate their early work no lower than To The Foundation, neither would I consider To The Foundation as anything less than their early albums. If you already like Gospel Reggae, you will not be disappointed.
Lori Fox is a freelance writer who is working on her first novel as well as writing reviews for TitleTrakk.com. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, making jewelry, and taking as many trips to Walt Disney World as possible with her wonderful husband Kyle. Visit her online at her website.