Picks and Pans Review: Matisyahu

updated 04/10/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/10/2006 01:00AM

Youth

REGGAE

Can a 26-year-old Hasidic Jew from the suburbs really cut it as a reggae artist? Surprisingly, yes. Hot on the heels of the hit concert album Live at Stubb's, Matisyahu (the Hebrew version of his given name, Matthew) proves with his second studio CD that he is more than a modest talent getting by on the curiosity factor. Backed by his three-piece band, he convincingly captures the traditional reggae sound and spirit on tunes such as the title-track youth anthem and the Bob Marley-like "What I'm Fighting For" (the only song he didn't have a hand in writing), while shouting out to Jerusalem instead of Jamaica.

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