It has been seven years since Ben Harper las played a show with the Innocent Criminals.
Beginning with his 1994 debut, Welcome To The Cruel World, Harper released a string of eight studio albums over a decade and a half. This extraordinary run, featuring contributions from the Innocent Criminals, established him as a singularly powerful songwriter and performer with range across multiple genres and an unmatched ability to blend the personal and political.
Massive, international sold-out tours, Top 10 debuts in the US and a slew of TV appearances cemented Harper and the band’s status as genuine global stars.
From the opening minutes of Call It What It Is, it’s clear that the feeling has never been more powerful or exhilarating. It’s all classic rock and roll bravado, full of electric guitar swagger, driving percussion, and seductive energy.
For the first time in his career, Harper split the recording of the album into five-day sessions spread across an entire year, enabling him and the band to come back to the music with deeper sense of objectivity.
As serious and solemn as Call It What It Is can get, it’s also one of Harper’s most joyous records. “Shine” grooves with Blissful passion, while “Pink Balloon” shows off a lyrical mischievousness that surprised even Harper himself.
For the legions of Ben Harper fans that have been waiting eight years for a new album with the Innocent Criminals, it feels even better.