Album Review: Ben Harper – Winter Is For Lovers

Winter Is For Lovers is the new album from Ben Harper, with the record being his 15th album release, which is impressive in its own right. It’s a little different from his usual sound, with the tracks here having a very stripped down feel to them. The difference in sound may put casual listeners off, but it makes for a very interesting listen overall, so we do recommend at least trying it a few times first.

By Jane Howkins

Winter For Lovers is an instrumental album, with the majority of the instrumentation coming from Ben’s steel guitar. The songs here are fairly slow, with subtle guitar melodies providing a nice ambient feel. These tracks are perfect for passive listening in the background, with the album being great background music. However, those looking for a little more may find themselves wanting, as there isn’t much to focus on here.

The music itself is beautiful, and Ben has a very unique way of playing which is very impressive. Fans of the technical side of things will find much to love here, and the sparseness of the songs does add a certain feel to them – there is something very wintery about the feel of the album, so the title is very apt here.

The concept of the album is also quite interesting, and it’s something that Ben has been working on for a while. Each song is named after a location that has inspired the musician over the years, with tracks being named after Istanbul, Manhattan and London, to name but a few choice places. The idea of the project was to create one long piece split up into lots of different segments, with the 15 songs on offer joining together to make a symphony of steel guitar sounds. It’s an interesting concept, and for this reason we reckon the album is probably best listened to as a whole, rather than checking out each song individually.

Overall, Winter Is For Lovers is a good album, and fans of Ben’s sound should love it. However, this may not be the best place to start for newcomers, due to the concept and the simplicity of the sound. If you do pick a copy up, we recommend listening to the album as a whole, as you’ll likely get more out of it that way.