Ben Harper and Relentless7
In a hostile sea of disposable, throwaway singles, BEN HARPER AND RELENTLESS7 have made a true album. White Lies For Dark Times is a timeless rock record, with a cohesive collection of music that is as raw, unrelenting and thunderous, as it is arrestingly haunting and emotional.
In what may possibly be the greatest “how the band formed” story ever, Harper met guitarist Jason Mozersky in the late nineties, when the lead singer of Mozersky’s then band, Wan Santo Condo was working as a van driver shuttling bands back and forth to the venue for a Texas promoter. (The three members of the 7 all hail from Texas) The part time driver, part time musician took a risk that all artists must take at some point in their lives in order to succeed. He asked the then captive Ben Harper, “Can I play you my demo?” Harper obliged, and in his own words “was blown away,” and helped the band secure a record deal and release the self-titled Wan Santo Condo / Everloving Records, 2004. The band broke up after one record, but what survived was a lasting friendship between Harper and Mozersky.
In 2005, Harper began recording sessions that would become a double record entitled Both Sides of the Gun (2006, Virgin Records). He invited his now long time friend Mozersky to lay down some guitar work on a track. Upon invitation to continue recording the next day, Jason arrived with at the studio with longtime friends, drummer Jordan Richardson and bassist Jesse Ingalls from the acclaimed Los Angeles based indie rock band OLIVER FUTURE. The session would spawn not only the song “Serve Your Soul” but the framework for Relentless7.
In the summer of 2008, the chance arrived for these four uniquely talented members to reunite in the studio and dig deeper into the chemistry that was born during the Both Sides of the Gun sessions. It was soon apparent that their instincts were correct as the record quickly began to take shape. The songs from White Lies For Dark Times sound off with both the vast musical depth and experience of Harper, while commanding the pure urgency and intensity of an unknown band fighting for its life.
On the raucous opening track, “Number With No Name,” Harper bellows “the very thing that drives you -- can drive you insane” over an infectious guitar line and a deftly serious groove that both thumps and propels the listener. The band then brings the listener full circle in the closing track “Faithfully Remain,” as Harper sings, “the truth just wastes away in all we can’t explain, but I faithfully remain.” The beauty of these lyrics works as a breathtaking release which balances out the urgency of songs such as “Shimmer and Shine” and “Up To You Now”.
This is American rock, the way it is supposed to sound and feel.
BEN HARPER AND RELENTLESS7 intelligently has one foot in Harper’s past while every other limb and appendage reach towards the future. Any preconceptions or misconceptions in regards to a “Ben Harper sound” must now be adjusted, or thrown out all together. With BEN HARPER AND RELENTLESS7, the story of modern rock music is now being rewritten.