Album: Michael Franti and Spearhead, The Sound of Sunshine (EMI)

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The Independent Culture

In the early 1990s, Franti was a rebel; firing out lyrics with a political intensity not many could match.

Fast forward to 2011 and it seems the Spearhead frontman has mellowed in his views and his music. But he hasn't lost any of the verve that made him famous. From dancefloor tracks such as "Shake It" to a lover's rock vibe on "Only Thing Missing Was You", Franti has made an eclectic, conscious album. With a listless British summer pending, TSOS is a spirit lifter rather than a soul shaker.