BEN HARPER Diamonds On The Inside (Virgin) Rating: NN Rating: NN
It's a fine line between sounding profound and saying absolutely nothing. In the past, Ben Harper has murmured vaguely spiritual lyrics in a soulful voice over his slide-boogie rock and subsequently been named a kind of urban prophet. Scratch beneath the surface, though, and Harper's caught out as a vibe waiting for a song. Diamonds On The Inside is his most understated record to date, but that's only made the problem worse. Turning down the volume for a set of harp- and string-drenched love ballads might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but the lack of bombast only exposes Harper's Hallmark sentimentality even further. Piecing together a roots shuffle on the opening reggae cut, With My Own Two Hands, might make you sound like the Wailers, but Harper's no Bob Marley.