Shalsheles Jr. 2
It’s nice to hear that Shalsheles Jr. is back and with more than just a single or guest appearance. With the passing of time, the former soloists voices have become to mature. Subsequently, there’s a new batch of children on this cd, including singing shensation Dovid Dachs, The rich mature voice of Avrumy Schwebel, the young and sweet voice of CJ Glicksman, and the pure voice of Edan Pinchot.
This time around, Shloime Kaufman, leader of the HASC choir and an incredibly talented singer in his own right leads the Shalsheles Jr. quartet. I must say, as good as Simcha Sussman, the leader on the last album was, Kaufman clearly brings experience with an arsenal of talented choir arrangements and is definitely an improvement from the last album.
Raninu – Although the refrain sounds a lot like Hodu from Shalsheles 3, this song is quite the improvement from the typical refrain and chorus. This song has many parts to it and I don’t believe any of these parts are overused. A great opener!
Aleinu – Avrumy Schwebel opens this song, the maturity in his voice is unique in a child’s voice and every time I hear it, it grows on me more. Edan Pinchot come in at 2:04 and you can hear for yourself how pure sounding his voice is. At 2:42, the song includes a third part in addition to the refrain and chorus, keeping the song interesting.
Nar Hayesee – The great songs continue! Disagree with me if you’d like, but this song seems to have the same sound as Hisoriree from the first album by Shalsheles Jr. This song opens up with Dovid Dachs (I think?) and then goes into Edan Pinchot at 0:58. They tend to sound similar when they sing the refrain. Not to take away from Glicksman and Scwebel, but I think Dachs and Pinchot are the ultimate duo in Jewish music. I love the interlude at 2:39. Once again, the interlude saves the song and keeps it from getting boring. The last thing to notice in this song is the crazy good arrangements. I think they are Aryeh Kunstlers?
Heyma – “WOW” is all I have to say about this song. It’s hands down, the best slow song on the album. Dovid Dachs and CJ Glicksman do a great job on the chorus the 2nd time around. And to complete the song, Shloime Kaufman sings towards the end of the song and provides some other worldly harmonies behind the vocalists.
Ma Tovu – The intro is a bit funky, but the song in its entirety has a mix of great vocals and music. To continue the comparison and the similarities between the first and second album, this song has the same feel as Yevarech. The harmonies sounds very similar to the first album and I’m impressed, yet not surprised in Shloime Kaufman’s choir arrangements.
Shema Koleinu – This tune fits the lyrics of Shema Koleinu and the gorgeous harmonies have the ability to tug at your heartstrings. I would’ve liked to have heard Schwebel sing the chorus of this song. I feel that his voice is best suited for this song.
Shalsheles Medley – I didn’t appreciate the medley on the first album and there’s no change in my opinion with this track. We heard how well this group of kids sang Yofyafisa, why not try something similar in this medley? How about Keil Hakavod from the 4th album, Mi Chamocha or Ashrei Ish from the 5th album?
Ani Maamin – I love the flow of this song and Avrumy Scwebel’s vocals in the first part of this song. Great choice! The harmonies are crazy good at the 2:06 verse. It blows my mind how they came up with such great harmonies for this album.
Refainu – This is one song that still has not grown on me. I love the refrain, but the chorus is a bit dull for my taste. Also, I hope i don’t ruin the song for anyone else, but every time I hear the strings (harp?) in the back (such as 1:54), I feel like I’m in some kind of dream sequence or something. The harmonies at 2:14 are the only harmonies in this entire album that bother me. I think if they eliminated the things that I just ranted about, this song would be improved a lot.
Yofyafisa – This track is taken straight off of A.K.A. Pella Platinum. A bit disappointing for a 10 track album to have a repeat on it. Still, this song is amazing and the best part about it, is that you can listen to it during sefira (yes, I know not everyone holds of acapella or this type of acapella). While it’s incredibely talented that they were able to mix this song with a secular song, it’s still a little disconcerting that they chose to do so.
Great album. 7.5 out of 10. I gave 1 point for each song I liked and a half a point for the reused song. So, for those who haven’t heard yofyafisa before, it’s really an 8 out of 10.
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