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Ben Harper & Relentless7 - White Lies For Dark Times - Virgin

There's that cliché about putting the "bounce back in your step. Well, after recruiting the Austin-based rock band Relentless7 to join forces, Ben Harper not only put the "bounce back in his step," but he refueled with a group of musicians that take his highly emotional songs to an explosive level.

The combination works for a number of reasons. The most immediate is that the band plays with a raw unapologetic style that matches Ben's expressive outpouring. The album's first single "Shimmer and Shine" is not only an example of such, but a loud introduction celebrating this new marriage.

The high energy collection begins with the bluesy stomp "Number With No Name" featuring Harper on slide guitar. Another blues inspired number, albeit more thunderous, comes in the song "Why Must You Always Dress In Black". And for all the high octane rock and blues, Relentless 7 prove their versatility on quintessential Harper ballads like "Skin Thin" and "Fly One Time".

White Lies For Dark Times witnesses Harper with a new supporting cast, but at the core his songs still capture the spirituality and ambition he's always aimed for. It would seem odd for Harper and his new band mates not to continue further down this road. With that being said White Lies For Dark Times makes for a welcomed musical merger.

Written by Mike Vasilikos, WXPN's Assistant Music Director and New Music Show Host.

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