by John Tarpley
For years, Michael Franti has been a figure supreme in the world of jam-fusion. He spent the early-'90s providing a fiery, political mouthpiece for electronic jazz outfit The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy before forming Spearhead in 1994. Since, Franti has melded reggae optimism to the same politically alarmed manifesto-songs in an attempt to find anything resembling a ray of hope in an otherwise miserably bleak political climate. It's not always a formula for mainstream success, but the road-worn Franti finally scored a big chunk of mainstream admiration last year with "Say Hey (I Love You)," a choogling, super-sugared piece of happy, shiny pop, written in Woody Harrelson's bathroom. Just last week, he released his seventh album with Spearhead, "The Sound of Sunshine." Don't expect anyone to cry "false advertising" over the title.