Sound — 10
For this album, White Lies for Dark Times, Ben Harper takes a break from the Innocent Criminals and plays with the band Relentless 7. This results in a more rock driven sound for the record. Ben Harper's trademark sound and unmistakable vocal style is still very much present and accounted for, there is just more emphasis on Jason Mozersky's electric guitar and Ben's electric slide guitar. Although, fans of Ben's acoutic style will not be disappointed either with songs like "Faithfully Remain" and "Skin Thin" displaying that sound very well.
Lyrics — 9
There are not many artists with better lyrics than Ben Harper, and this record is no different. Lines like; "We're the problem and the solution, the cure and the disease," from the song "Shimmer" is a good indication of the level of lyrical content that will be seen on this album. However, not every song is so serious, with verses like "Never trust a woman who loves the blues," from the song "Lay There and Burn;" or "Why must you always dress in black" from the song of the same name exhibit this well. Overall, Ben Harper's lyrics are a big reason why "White Lies for Dark Times" was on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 45 most anticipated albums of 2009.
Overall Impression — 9
A new twist on a legendary aritst. Ben Harper's current fan base will not be disappointed with White Lies for Dark Times. However, it has enough mainstream appeal to garner a little more recognition from listener's who may have felt left out by Ben's largely underground musical career. The most impressive songs on this album are from a range of styles. People interested in hearing Ben's patented slide guitar will likely be drawn to songs like "Number With No Name". Fans looking to hear Ben's more blusey side won't have to look any further than track 4, "Lay There and Hate Me." Overall, White Lies for Dark Times should prove to everyone what most already know: Ben Harper is an artist that can blur genres to simply make great music.