Saturday, October 6, 2007

Hashem Echod's Review

Shloime Dachs is back to the spotlight with Hashem Echod, his fifth album. Gideon Levine’s production is very good and some songs are actually not bad. After Ovinu, his previous album, I thought Dachs was gone. But the album’s theme song Shema Yisroel is outstanding, a great surprise. And the album has 12 songs, an all-time record for Dachs, in addition to the video.

Tomid, composed by Lapidot, is not good enough for an opening song. The low part is actually good but the high part is repetitive. Laufer’s arrangement is too typical, adding very little to the song. I believe Ron Tichon would’ve done a much better job arranging this opening song, perhaps in a techno style. Everything is too predictable, too familiar and too boring. Dachs doesn’t seem to be very good at choosing opening songs – in his last album Ovinu he chose Ein Lonu, a very plain song. The high part of this song reminds me of Dedi’s Tein Li Brocho V’hatzlocho, composed by Reuven Banet. **

Shema Yisroel is very interesting. The opening is outstanding – both the choir and the arrangement are very well made and manage to set the appropriate tone for this emotional song. The sound of the train wagons transports us to the 1940’s and the words – Shema Yisroel – are perfectly fit for this song dedicated to a few holocaust survivors. I never heard anything about Elimelech Blumstein, the composer, but he hit a home run here. Dachs also did a good job singing it. This song should’ve been the first song of the album. *****

The big attraction of Yigdal is Chaim Yisrael, who’s a great soloist. He does an interesting intro and sings the remainder of the song with Dachs. Moshe Laufer does everything right in the arrangement until he switches to rock in 2:00, in the last part of the song. Additionally, Gideon Levine sings the choir in Boruch (i.e. Ashkenazi-style). Those two things took away the Mizrachi feel of this song, in my opinion. **

Torah is a three-part song that starts off well (sounds like Shalsheles Junior to me) but it doesn’t builds up. It’s just another average song, that’s has nothing bad, but nothing good as well. ***

Yitzi Waldner is famous for his slow songs, which include Shwekey’s Mi Adir, Meheiro and many more. Keili is a fast song, but Waldner did a great job here as well. He plays well with the lyrics in the second part of the song (check the lyrics in the album jacket and you will understand what I mean) and the song is not overly long – 4 minutes. It the right style of fast song for Dachs’ voice. ****

Mizmor Shir is a typical Bald song – simple lyrics, simple tune and the song switches from Hebrew to English (and Yiddish). Dachs already has a Mizmor Shir in his curriculum – in the album Rozo de’Shabbos. That one is far far superior than this one. **

Yehuda Ben Teimo’s first part is very catchy and overall is a quite good song. There’s nothing new in the arrangement - it’s just the usual sound we hear too often - so the song gets too repetitive. I didn’t like the ending. ***

Yo Ainstark is the composer of the famous Tov Lehodot and usually composes songs for his Shalheves Boys Choir, but he didn’t meet my expectations for this song. The Dove is another plain English like the ones we have become so used to – not catchy, overly long and very boring. And the choir is also too plain. Frankly, I’m tired of these songs in JM. *

Na Na Na starts exactly like Dedi’s Sameach (click here to listen the comparison). The high part is not geshmack. **

Ranenu starts somewhat like Shwekey’s Ranenu. The high part is interesting and the choir here is much better, but I don’t feel like there’s a connection between the tune and the lyrics. It’s a song without a soul. **

Mi Bon is a great Chupa song, but a bit forgettable. In 5:19 and 5:40 Dachs did a very poor job in the vocals – inexcusable. ***

I loved the first part of Yehei but the high part is almost non-existant. **

-> Shloime Dachs sings the same songs for almost 15 years. This album would have been a hit in the 90’s but, hey, we are in 2007. His music hasn’t improved much over the years, nor his voice or harmonies but I can’t say he is a bad vocalist. Although Dachs doesn’t have the best of voices, he excels when singing the right songs for his voice. I guess that’s why he keeps singing the same thing over and over. But many guys out there are musically ahead of him – Avraham Fried , Ohad, Michoel Pruzansky, Dovid Gabay etc… So today, Dachs is not one of the main players in JM anymore. He’s just one of the good old guys still hanging out there.