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REVIEWS - SOUNDS

Title:
Burn To Shine
Artist(s):
Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals
El-Camel's Ratings:

Label:
Virgin Records
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Reviewer:
simon skinner

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Running on hope, tendacious fiddle sticks, soul and campfire muffins, brothers in harms way - charms way. Oh my God - let the music come - let it. Float on Heaven's chariot - dovetail - it's a long way round - round to where you came from - where everything meant something - meant so much - meant - you go to heartbreak ridge - go and camp out there for a bit - go slow with the mojo rising in the east and then retreat - he was always retreating beat he lost the will to have will to blanket his feelings in cowboy dust - to rust and then retreat once more like sun at the end of the day - like the pavement outside his town house - like the wagon wheel for breakfast - like smelts - like ham - like cod roe - like Ben Harper - do you, do you though? Do you? Do you? Like being… 'alone' track one with the good twiddling guitar part, the mournful vocal hitchhiking through the chasms of the soul. Harper uses dove imagery twice - once in the 'two hands of a prayer' - "first time I saw her she had white doves in her eyes" - must have been painful… and later, much later 'In the Lord's arms.'

'The woman in you' is a beautiful vocal performance "some things never change, some things never stay the same." On 'Please Bleed' there's a nice wash of guitar , soft/loud soft/loud though Harper's voice doesn't have the force to get truly angry "please bleed so I know you're real, so I know you can feel" sumptuous, impressive - good lovers make great enemies. Stand out track - more soul in vocal. When he chooses to rock it up Harper is at his weakest and strangely this includes the title track/single 'Burn to Shine.' But 'Show Me A Little Shame' has everything. A 'Try a little tenderness' bassline and all the Otis Redding a man could ask for. With a gospel backing and church organ it has the rise and fall of a soul classic. Harper coming into his own, you can hear him emoting in the studio and falling to his knees live.

Worth it for this track alone? Possibly.


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Burn To Shine
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