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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The 35th Uncut Playlist Of 2014


Weird serendipities aplenty this week: versions of "O, Death" on two albums I downloaded one after another, by Mike & Cara Gangloff and Bessie Jones; dovetailing into Sea Island overlap between Jones and Loscil. It makes for a nice blurring between time and genre with, say, the Gangloffs...