Late in 2011, Matisyahu posted a picture to the web, clean-shaven and looking sharp with the caption "No more Chassidic reggae superstar. Sorry folks, all you get is me...no alias." Produced by Kool Kojak, who had previously worked with glossy, glossy, glossy acts like Kesha and Nicki Minaj, Spark Seeker is the musical version of that picture, with no "Sorry folks" required. Comfortably rock along with lead single "Sunshine" and the supportive figure could be God, the significant other, or any friend, but most importantly, Matisyahu's evolution to somewhat secular, positive pop-reggae star feels entirely natural, as if playing on that jam band circuit rubbed off quite well, leaving Iration-type vibes and the desire to speak to wider audience. There's still that spiritual anchor with a kabbalistic reference in the title and especially on tracks like "Bal Shem Tov", "King Crown of Judah", and "Tel Aviv'n", plus the Babylon system and the world of materialism are both obvious enemies throughout, although not the laptop as this non-Marley song called "Buffalo Soldier" bubbles and burps in a wild, synthetic style. The satisfying reggae-rocker "I Believe in Love" sounds like a Coldplay remix of Matisyahu's old catalog, while the feel good, "love everything with all of my might" closer "Shine on You" is all the best bits of Wyclef, K'naan, and will.i.am spun together. The good news is, Matisyahu sounds not only comfortable in these surroundings, but either at home or genuinely excited to be tackling something new, and without selling his soul. This enthusiasm makes it easy to ignore the handful of cheesy ideas and dated sounds that dot the album, and while both the sternly Chassidic and sternly roots reggae factions of his fanbase might find it disappointing, Spark Seeker holds plenty of life and appeal.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries