2009 release, the ninth studio album from acclaimed singer/songwriter and Grammy Award-winner Ben Harper. Harper has now reunited with band mates met when recording Both Sides of the Gun (2006) Relentless7. White Lies For ... more »Dark Times is a timeless Rock record, with a cohesive collection of music that is as raw, unrelenting and thunderous, as it is arrestingly haunting and emotional.« less
2009 release, the ninth studio album from acclaimed singer/songwriter and Grammy Award-winner Ben Harper. Harper has now reunited with band mates met when recording Both Sides of the Gun (2006) Relentless7. White Lies For Dark Times is a timeless Rock record, with a cohesive collection of music that is as raw, unrelenting and thunderous, as it is arrestingly haunting and emotional.
Tom A. (CTA4him) from ANDERSON, SC Reviewed on 10/19/2014...
Another good one from Ben. This is not his best by any means but, this doesn't one disappoint.
Ben Harper rocks hard again!
J. Polsgrove | Baja Arizona | 05/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I became a Ben Harper fan with Fight for Your Mind. I liked the Live From Mars 2-CD release, one of which was acoustic, while the other was electric. When he goes electric, Harper rocks. Unfortunately, the last few CDs I've passed on, as they sound like Ben Harper on valium. I can only take so much soft, gentle music. He lost me at Diamonds on the Inside.
With this release, Ben Harper seems to have dumped the valium, so to speak, and comes blasting back to life. Every song blasts from the speakers! BEN ROCKS! Even the few relatively slow songs have a power to them that has been lacking.
Right now, this is available as a download for $3.99. I'd previewed it before today and was going to download it, no matter what the cost. At $3.99, it's a bargain.
New life and energy has been breathed into Ben Harper. Whoeveer the Relentless7 are, they kick Ben into high gear! This is the best Harper CD since Fight for Your Mind. Get it, get it, get it!"
Rock 'n' Roots - with added funk; play loud!
Colin Spence | Formby, UK | 05/08/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ben Harper teams up with a Texas trio known by the somewhat confusing name of 'Relentless7' - but anyway, even if they can't count, they sure know how to rock. Most of the songs are blues-rockers, whereby you get a generous helping of fuzzed-up electric slide and a good dose of wah wah enhanced electric lead - and the music is all held together by a tight and funky rhythm section. However, the album isn't all ballsy blues and frenzied funk - with a few numbers, BH slows down the tempo to give the listener a sprinkling of his more familiar neo-roots music. Most of the songs have pretty good lyrics too.
Those tunes that really do the business for me are : 'Number With No Name', 'Shimmer & Shine', 'Lay There and Hate Me', 'Why Must You Always Dress In Black', 'Skin Thin' and 'Keep It Together'; the rest aren't bad either, with just a couple that don't quite 'get there' for me.
I didn't think they made music like this anymore (the major influences are obvious - Jimi Hendrix, Cream and The Rolling Stones). Anyone who likes their music with a lot of balls should enjoy this album, with its super-charged playing and BH's soulful vocals (as another reviewer mentions, occasionally sounding a little like Stevie Wonder). Also, if you're 'getting on a bit' (like me) and hanker for that pre-arena, classic psych-tinged blues-rock sound from yesteryear, then you might want to lend an ear to this album - it's a frightfully decent record. "
Best rock album in awhile
E. Compton | 05/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a big fan of Ben Harper, especially his live albums. This is his best studio effort to date, that's good considering he's been recording for 15 years. This is a great straight up rock record, it really has the energy of his live shows. The new band has helped Harper re-invent himself with a more rock-blues sound."
A Change In Direction, But It Is Still Great
Philip R. Heath | DFW | 05/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"White Lies For Dark Times marks change in direction for Ben Harper. Gone are The Innocent Criminals with Relentless7 in their place. The changes that result from this are great, but that is by no means a knock on The Innocent Criminals (see my review of Lifeline for further discussion). However, Ben Harper is a versatile musician, and he has shown that he can deliver in multiple styles with White Lies For Dark Times being the most recent evidence.
Relentless7 is a three piece backing for Harper, and their sound has a much more electric emphasis than Lifeline. White Lies For Dark Times also has a darker sound, and Harper is nowhere near as upbeat. Harper's lyrics carry a sense of desperation and angst as shown by "There's nowhere to run/I've got no one to tell/My face has become a mask/And I'm not wearing it well" from "Number With No Name" or "Arms that hold you close/Are the arms that hold you back/While your world is under attack" from "Up To You Now". Other examples come from "Lay There & Hate Me" "I feel like an underpaid concubine/Who's overstayed her welcome" and "The Word Suicide" "The word suicide is irresponsible/Still you offer me a gun". It is clear that Harper is expressing a harsher reality than he did on Lifeline.
The change in lyrics is balanced with the change in sound from Relentless7. Jason Mozersky is a very good guitarist, and his use of distortion, fuzz, and "wah wah" pedals gives the instrumentation an edge that matches the lyrics of the songs. Harper's vocal delivery is also different. The first time I listened to the CD, the third verse of "Up To You Now" stuck with me as all the instruments are silent while he earnestly delivers the following lines in his upper register "There's no sound louder than war/And we don't have tomorrow any more". This has a striking effect because the technique is not overused. "Shimmer & Shine" is one of the faster paced songs, and it almost has a punk feel to it (but it's not quite *that* fast). It's about as upbeat as this CD gets, but things come back down quickly on "Lay There & Hate Me". It is a deliberate mix of R&B and rock, and Harper seems to have a lot of venom in his delivery. One other song worth specific mention is "Keep It Together (So I Can Fall Apart)" is a nod to the sound of Jimmie Hendrix without being a cliche. Mozersky does a great job of conjuring up the image without coming off as a wannabe - no easy feat! Jesse Ingalls on bass and Jordan Richardson on drums provide a steady foundation for all of the songs.
Overall, White Lies For Dark Times is a bold change in direction for Ben Harper, but it would be hard to imagine a better result. The most important thing that it shares with Lifeline is that there is not a bad song on the entire CD. If you are hoping for the logical successor to Lifeline, you are likely to be disappointed. However, I would encourage all Ben Harper fans to give this a try because it is great stuff!
Download this: Shimmer & Shine"
A Breath of Fresh Air
Bill | Washington - State | 05/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'd never heard of Ben Harper before despite having a huge blues / rock collection of CDs. It was getting pretty tough finding anything new to add to the stack - seems like most of the old big names have been putting out apathetic, same o, same o stuff or releasing ancient relics that one tires of after a few spins. Just listening to the sound bites sold me on this disc. The artist is original, creative and powerful. At last something that is refreshingly new to enjoy and absorb. Way to go Ben - keep up the great work!"