Another Beginning

Given the disastrous state of Israeli current affairs, one would expect this latest effort by Tel Aviv-based Rockfour to be a highly politicized statement. But even the most cursory listen will reveal that injustices are very far from the band's mind. "Government," the opening track, concerns itself more with vocal harmony than global harmony.

The band's latest album is a sugarcoated time capsule, tenderly assembled from everything from the Beatles to Bowie, cut with sunshine blasts of the Beach Boys and dipped in 21st-century studio finesse. Baruch Ben-Itzhak's twelve-string shimmers like a dozen nylon mirrors, and Marc Lazare's bass is the most remarkable, period-perfect thing in the band, dancing everywhere and only touching the root note when absolutely necessary. Mellotron, Moog, and Hammond organs all add detail to the picture.

Though the band's blatant Byrds-ophilia may seem odd coming from an Israeli outfit (the members began jamming together during their mandatory military service), there is very little wavering from the seeds of '60s pop about the band's sound. One disparate element is Eli Lulai's vocals. He sounds very much like a classic '70s new-wave pop crooner -- Glenn Tilbrook or Neil Finn, perhaps. But when Ben-Itzhak and Lazare sing along, the trio gives Buffalo Springfield a run for its shekels.

The band has been singing in English since 1998, revealing the sometimes treacly nature of their lyrics with only minimal touches of a Middle Eastern drone. The record is a colorful trip back to a time when the most common way to protest your government's injustices was to tune in, turn on, and drop out.


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