Ten years and four albums into a musical career that has seen the Moshav Band scale the heights of success in its native Israel, these four Israeli sons (three of them brothers) of American parents who grew up on the Moshav Meor Modi'im, a musical village in the hills between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, have released their first mainstream album in the form of a compilation.
Higher and Higher presents 17 songs culled from the Moshav Band's first four albums, dating back to 1998's The Things You Can't Afford, recorded when some band members were still in their teens. The music is an intelligent swirl of rock, reggae and folk, earthy harmonies and organic sounds that have drawn comparisons to Pearl Jam and the Dave Matthews Band. But the Moshav Band also recalls progressive-leaning jambands like Umphrey's McGee and String Cheese Incident, and many songs weave textures and ideas influenced by The Police, Santana, Bob Marley and U2.
Songs like "Don't Give Up," "Lost Time" and "Stop" stem from intensely personal places and address terrorism, suffering and war. Meanwhile, "Bereshit" (with lyrics lifted straight from the Bible) and the Hebrew-sung Jewish standard "Shabbos Kodesh" allow band members and listeners of all faiths to tap into tradition. Also included on Higher and Higher is a beautiful acoustic version of "Heart Is Open," taken from the sessions for a new studio record. It's a feel-good ode to the power of prayer and never letting go of dreams, and it bodes well for the future of this extremely talented group of young men.
As Adam Wills writes in the detailed liner notes for Higher and Higher, "the Moshav Band is in many respects the pioneer of modern Jewish rock. They are able to draw crowds from both the spiritual and secular worlds." Or, as guitarist Duvid Swirsky says: "Our music is Jewish in the way Bob Marley was Rasta."
The thick booklet that accompanies Higher and Higher includes a note from singer/songwriter Peter Himmelman, a band history and song-by-song analysis, photos, lyrics and a complete discography for listeners keen on digging up the Moshav Band's back-catalog. There's even info about Malachim, the band's fifth studio album that is slated for impending release. Here's hoping upstart label Jewish Music Group gets that record (and this one) into the hands of the Bonnaroo crowd, because these guys could be huge …
1) Higher and Higher
2) Come Back
3) Wake Up
4) Waiting for the Calling
6) Don't Give Up
7) Eliyah Hanavi
8) Lost Time
10) The Things You Can't Afford
13) Shabbos Kodesh
14) If Someone Falls In Love With Me
15) Some Love
17) Return Again
18) Heart Is Open (Acoustic Version)