Another newbie pops out into the Jewish musical scene, but his sound is no rookie effort. Mordechai Shapiro and his fantastic production staff have masterfully delivered one of the most enjoyable pop albums to come out in the past few years. His faster numbers are unique and set him aside, even though he delivers very well on the slow pieces as well. He’s a great talent, and we look forward to more!
Kol Haderech: (*****) Smooth, clear and blast-worthy. Shapiro utilizes his talents to the max, with nary a flaw. Bridge at 3:22 shows great, natural flexibility. I love the fresh lyrics at the end of the song. And his outro is classy.
Schar Mitzvah: (*****) Fantastic beat on this pop-rocker. Once again, some great arrangements with faux-strained harmonic at about 2:20, leading into an extended bridge, with more vocal creativity.
Ki Malachov: (***) A classic crooner that Shapiro belts out with aplomb. Silky smooth. The arrangements fit him and vice versa like the proverbial glove. And a perfecto outro.
Chizku: (****) Although singing about Moshe’s death in this dance beat is strange, the chorus is really what this song is all about. Another hot number that requires the windows down and the volume up. This is another spot to compliment the complete production – electro effects are used to great effect, and the song doesn’t get lost in the shtick.
Shir Hamaalos: (***) A very singable tune from Baruch Levine, but it strays a bit too far into the typical, and that makes it one of the weaker songs on this very strong album. The child soloist is good, even if a bit nasal, but adds little to this candlelight sway-er; however, the choir at 4:00 does contribute a fresh dimension. Those voices quite possibly could have been used for better effect and more action earlier in the tune.
Ivdu: (***) Speeding things up once again, with this peppy and exceedingly catchy tune. Watch out for the jazz vocals! Not much for spiritual depth, this one, but it’s all about fun, and succeeds from that angle.
Hayom: (***) Reflective in style and execution of Shir Hamaalos (although this one comes courtesy of Yitzi Waldner), another slow pop anthem. Easy-going with strong choral backup. Pretty lyrics and even prettier performance.
Mi KaHashem: (***) Simple tune; slightly less simple dance arrangement. It needed the choir to bring it up a space, but like the rest of the album, it’s catchy and works just fine.
Lo Alecha: (****) Dropping back off the dance floor, here’s a lovely song with a lovely guest appearance by Ron Weinreich, which itself is worth the price of admission. This one is Shapiro’s own creation, and shows talent worthy of development. Avraham Zamist works wonders with the arrangements (check out the percussions); however, the bridge at 3:40 doesn’t really belong there.
Umeloch: (****) Finishing off this absolutely wonderful record is one more rocker, featuring heavy reverb. Love it! This piece was composed by fellow talented new singer, Boruch Sholom Blesofsky, who seems to be all over the music scene nowadays. Nothing to say other than I’ll take this one, from the hook down to the lines and singer.
Look, Shapiro knows what he’s doing with his voice. He really gets it. And the pile of hits are going to grow. This album is a real pleaser for the modern ear; a real treat for a JM fan looking for something new.