Album review

Ben Harper - Diamonds On The Inside

You can never pigeon-hole Ben Harper but Diamonds On The Inside is his most eclectic collection yet. "With My Own Two Hands" is roots reggae. The title track sounds like The Band. There are pop ballads, acoustic blues, New Orleans-flavoured R&B, acoustic folk tunes, Lenny Kravitz-style rockers and, on "Picture Of Jesus" (with Ladysmith Black Mambazo), he's got that old-time religion. The diversity takes your breath away. But where in the past he has often impressed rather than engaged us, here there's an emotional warmth that makes it by some distance the best record he's ever made.

Rating: 4 / 10


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Very taken with Africa Express' version of "In C", by Terry Riley, this week. I have a few takes on the piece (50 years old this month, incidentally), the latest being one by Portishead's Adrian Utley from a couple of years back, though I still probably default to what I think is the original...