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Today’s desert island disc: Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Lifeline

Ben Harper Lifeline

A review of Ben Harper’s Lifeline (2007)

Ben Harper plays a stylish blend of rock, reggae and old-style r’n’b, like a subtler, less flashy version of Lenny Kravitz. These are well-crafted, well-rehearsed songs, recorded in just seven days in a studio in Paris, directly to 16-track without using any digital tools. The CD sounds open, airy and spacious. It’s sort of like Ben Harper’s ‘unplugged’ album. I’ve been a Ben Harper follower for a long time; in fact, it’s a little hard for me to pick just one Ben Harper record for the desert island batch. So I’ll pick this one because I’m enjoying it right now. There’s a certain honesty in Ben Harper’s music – a lack of irony, a deep understanding of, and reflection on, the history of popular music. I think this is becoming a bit of a theme for me: high quality music, a bit ‘retro,’ that avoids irony… anyway, this is a great record that you should listen to if you can.

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