Jewish Music Blog

February 2, 2006

Shalsheles Junior – Review

Filed under: Reviews — jewishmusic @ 1:44 pm

Although this album is called Shalsheles, the only real connections it has to the previous Shalsheles albums are that the songs are composed by Yitzchok Rosenthal and Simcha Sussman occasionally sings background vocals and some lead. Other than that, this album really has little to do with previous Shalsheles albums. What really made the 3 Shalsheles albums unique, besides the songs, were Yisroel Lamm’s arrangements. In contrast, Shalsheles Junior is arranged by Ron Tichon. I think this was a good move – after 3 albums, the Shalsheles sound didn’t evolve and was just more of the same.

Interestingly, the only musical credits are ascribed to Tichon. This means one thing – low budget. Tichon had to arrange, play and record all of the music himself, which is no easy feat. Considering this, Tichon did a superb job on the music. He uses electronic sounds to fill the void left by the lack of real instruments, instead of trying to imitate real instruments with samples or keyboard sounds. I think this was another good move – if the music is not going to be totally real anyway, why not take advantage of the electronic element? The electronic sounds don’t sound too rocky or techno a la Eli Gerstner. Tichon also plays guitar, so both the electric and acoustic guitars on the album are real. Tichon’s keyboard playing is also very tasteful. Tichon’s choice of chords is also worthy of note. Some of his more original yet tasteful choices are in the high part Hisoriree and the low part of Ivdu. Had Tichon used the obvious choice (E, B, C#m, A instead of C#m7, Abm7, A, E) for the high part of Hisoriree, it would have been more noticeable that it sounds like Can You Feel the Love Tonight by Elton John. Tichon assisted in arranging Tek-Noy, which is evident from his signature pitch bent strings which he uses in Ilu Phinu and the Fast Medley. The beginning of the Fast Medley sounds like a funk Yamaha auto-accompaniment beat from one of their high end arranger keyboards, which is a credit to Tichon’s versatility. Tichon’s style in general is refreshing – I’d really like to hear an album arranged by him with real instruments.

The kids themselves sing like kids. What I mean is that the singing is often little more than just singing – there’s little soul and emotion behind the singing. There is one vocalist who clearly is a step above the rest – he’s the first singer on Ivdu and Shehashalom. The other kids aren’t bad, I just don’t think there’s must to their singing. Almost all of the singing is in tune, which is a result of good recording and auto-tune, and thankfully the auto-tune isn’t noticeable. Some of the background vocals sound out of tune, similar to the original Shalsheles albums. There are also several times where the rhythm of the vocals is noticeably off, such as the high part of Shehashalom at 3:48. A bit about Sussman’s singing: his voice clearly is associated with Shalsheles, so I understand why he sang. What I don’t like is that his background vocals are often too melodic and flooded with auto-tune which draws too much attention to the background and away from the foreground.

 

The songs are in general pretty nice. As with the previous Shalsheles albums, the real strength in songs lies in the ballads. Ivdu and Shehashalom are both excellent and original songs.

Tichon’s arrangements and the influx of new vocals makes Shalsheles Junior a refreshing change from the previous Shalsheles albums.

Update 6:10 PM: Ron Tichon informed me that Avi Singolda was the guitarist on Shalsheles Junior. I had assumed that because the only musical credits were ascribed to Ron that he had done all the music. Why not give credit where credit is due?

 

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2 Comments »

  1. Great review!

    Comment by Jewish Blogmeister — February 2, 2006 @ 2:29 pm

  2. Solid detailed review!–>

    Comment by ShmuelT — February 9, 2006 @ 11:32 am


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