Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Review: Ben Harper and Relentless 7 for Rave Magazine

 Issue 938 
Live From The Montreal International Jazz Festival

Live set that one-ups the studio recording Fans of Ben Harper and co. will procure this CD/DVD without asking any questions. Those who are indiff erent will probably remain so; such is the nature of live records. A bit like buying Black & Gold chocolate-coated wafer biscuits when you want Tim Tams, those who settle for the studio version are selling these tracks short. Harper’s voice has an honest character that can only be captured live and all the intricate details add to the overall appeal. Rock music is at its best when left unharnessed, and this set reveals a charming, raw stage presence on the video included. Harper’s take on David Bowie’s Under Pressure is understated, stylistically recognisable only because of the telltale opening sequence. Hendrix’s Red Door however, may as well have been written for Harper. He hits every quivering note with the same force brought to his own tracks Lay There & Hate Me and Keep It Together (So I Can Fall Apart). The milder moments of White Lies For Dark Times are suitably chill here, but the standout, rather than the expected, Shimmer and Shine, is a sweet, trembling rendition of Faithfully Remain.

Digital edition here.

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