Jay, you're one talented individual. I'm not sure what is your more recent stuff, but personally I really dig the work you're doing with the muted colors. This one, the flower, the girl with the neck, the fire demon person and the rest are just killer.
The text works for me because the whole thing is very Ben Shahn inspired. In fact, where did this text face come from? Shahn had the coolest lettering style (as on the cover of his book The Shape of Content) ever, and every once in a while I see something like this. Did someone make a Ben Shahn font?
The raw white shape in back is great, especially the way it looks under the yellow. The whole thing looks like a stencil too, which would be pretty fun to put up around a city...
i think it works as is, but you could have also played with the text more...though I do like it as is.
So hard to say what should or shouldnt be done...only the designer/artist can get a feel for that because they are the ones within the creative process...he may have tried other text just to find out it did not work as well. More than anything when I crit I am looking for skill and competence in the work...not necessarily the creative directions chosen, because those can be almost imp[ossible to extrapalate and understand outside of that of the design him or herself.
Jay, his is a really beautiful and odd poster! Looks reminiscent of found art/ signs/graffiti - really nice and unusual. My wife and I spent the morning driving around Chicago taking pictures of old signs and buildings- this is a great poster to see after that activity.