White Lies for Dark Times

These 13 songs by Ben Harper and his new backing band surround Harper's voice with a revved-up racket — rippling blues-guitar leads, rumbling bass and busy, inventive beats from drummer Jordan Richardson. The noise is welcome, but Harper can be a graceless vocalist (check the screechy overemoting in "Boots Like These" and "Lay There & Hate Me"), and his songs about crumbling relationships strain for significance amid pronouncements like "I'm serenaded by a chorus of a thousand burning cigarettes."