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Island Mele
Friday, February 11, 2000

By John Berger



Justin shows growth
in anthology

Bullet Collection: by Justin (Neos; Neos Vo43)

Justin Kawika Young hit with his 1996 debut album. Three albums later he is a one-name artist who ranks second to Fiji as a guy local record producers call on when they want to add commercial appeal to other artists' projects. I-94's "Brownbags 2000" album featured Justin on three songs. All three are also on this 16-song anthology.

Justin has seemed most comfortable with enervated light local pop arrangements but several songs show he can do more than that. "SootheYou" is one his most impressive original pop ballads. "Streets Of Waiks" and "The Valentine's Song" also show his growth as writer and performer, while "Tani's Song" uses an uncredited interpolation of "Leaving On A Jet Plane" as an effective commercial hook.

Two of his early songs find him in a Jawaiian reggae-lite mode with vocalist Kekama Emmsley. Brooke Lee, Sharon Sanchez, Pomai Longakit, Jamin "Chief Ragga" Wong, Jon Yamasato and Yasmeen Sulieman are heard elsewhere.

Justin's languorous remakes of Top 40 hits are basic local pop and less interesting than his originals. "Crazy Love" is his best remake.

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Crazy Love
Bullet Your Move
Bullet Soothe You
Bullet Streets of Waiks
Quicktime | MPEG-3 info

Neos Productions, 625-5586



Bullet Live From The Sheraton Waikiki: by Kanilau and Moe Keale (Nani Lawai; Nani Lawai 555)

The Sheraton Waikiki features modern Hawaiian music nightly. Kanilau's Roland Chang produced this album from three nights of music last year. It is a fine souvenir.

The influence of the Brothers Cazimero is heard in Kanilau's breezy "Hapa Haole Medley" but the quartet's take on "Koke'e" is a fresh interpretation of a classic. Moe Keale and his sidemen nicely personalize six Hawaiian standards.

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Koke'e
Bullet Waiomina
Bullet Aia I Ka Maui
Quicktime | MPEG-3 info

Moe Keale:



Bullet Mr. Pole Benda: by The Rising Tide (Ulua Nui)

Darryl Castillo and Kerry Okinishi introduced themselves with a self-titled album in 1998. Okinishi's Caribbean-beat "Mr. Pole Benda" got some local radio play so they've retitled the album and added three tracks. One is an "unplugged" version of "Mr. Pole Benda" that seems unchanged from the original. Ulua fishermen may be interested in both.

Mpeg Audio Clips:
Bullet Mr. Pole Benda
Bullet Mr. Pole Benda unplugged
Quicktime | MPEG-3 info

See Record Reviews for some past reviews.
See Aloha Worldwide for locals living away.

John Berger, who has covered the local
entertainment scene since 1972, writes reviews of recordings
produced by Hawaii artists. See the Star-Bulletin's Today
section on Fridays for the latest reviews.

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