Band: Ben Harper and Relentless7

Album: White Lies For Dark Times

Label: Virgin

Ben Harper is largely underappreciated and while I suspect that’s perfectly fine with his fans, Mr. Laura Dern deserves that one record to cement his status as God-like Musical Genius. White Lies for Dark Times is, sadly not that record.

What it is, is a mix of fun, funky, hook-laden bluesy numbers that channel Buddy, Muddy, Jimi and Stevie (Lay There and Hate Me, Why Must You Always Dress In Black, Keep It Together) and soft’n strummy heartache ballads that echo Croce and Cat (Skin Thin, Faithfully Remain). The rest are a mixed bag that wouldn’t be out of place as background music on any number of network TV dramas.

The single, Shimmer and Shine, however is a straight-up raw rocker with a sweet, poppy side that is the only product of Relentless7 sessions that doesn’t feel like a leftover from the old Harper & Innocent Criminals discog. In fact, fans may recognize some of WLFDT songs from past live shows dating back as far as 2004.

Taken for what it is though – a new group/side project’s recorded jam sessions fleshed out with some reworked miscellaneous – White Lies For Dark Times is a decent populist showcase of the very talented, genre hopping Ben Harper. If anything – as anyone who’s ever been before will tell you – Ben Harper is always better live and this will serve to whet the appetite of those anxious to hear and see their man and his band, Relentless7 serve up something much more satisfying.


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