Ben Harper, 'Lifeline' (Capitol)

6
Lifeline
Critical Mass
Label: Capitol

by Stacey Anderson

After last year's Both Sides of the Gun, an ambitious double album split into snappy blues and pensive, symphonic soul, Ben Harper eases into a more fluid, evenly paced groove on his eighth LP. Recorded in Paris in a week with his band, the Innocent Criminals, Lifeline is a commanding, unjammy take on gospel-influenced rock, featuring his most spiritual singing since 2004's Grammy-winning collaboration with the Blind Boys of Alabama. But his finest moment comes on the instrumental "Paris Sunrise #7," which starts with a sparse ripple of slide guitar and builds into a lush visual sonnet.

Now Hear This: Ben Harper - "In the Colors" DOWNLOAD MP3

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