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Ben Harper - Lifeline - Virgin

On Lifeline, Ben Harper has gone back to his roots in a major way. Already the king of effortless groove, this album sounds like it was conceived, written and produced in a few weeks... which it was (the whole recording process took just a week, start to finish). That's a very good thing in this instance, because the spontaneity is absolutely refreshing. The songcraft on Lifeline rivals any other Harper release, and Ben and the Innocent Crimminals play the tunes with an uplifting sense of discovery.

There's so many solid tunes on here, I don't really know where to start. The lead single "In The Colors" sounds better with every listen, and others like "Put It On Me," "Fight Outta You," "Younger Than Today," "Needed You Tonight" - and at least a couple more songs on Lifeline - stack up with anything Harper has ever done.

In this day of single releases and single song downloading capabilities, here's an album that you'll want to hear start to finish.

There's also no reason to believe that these tunes won't sound fantastic live, given their organic feel. It's a bonafide best-of contender for '07, and could become a career album from a guy who's already forged an impressive one.

Written by Dan Reed

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