Release Date: Apr 8, 2016
Record label: Fantasy
It took Ben Harper nine years to reconvene the Innocent Criminals for 2016's Call It What It Is, but that's not necessarily an abnormally long time for this crew: eight years separated its 2007 predecessor Lifeline from their 1999 debut, Burn to Shine. Harper formed the Innocent Criminals partially with the intention that they'd be his Band of Gypsies, a support system for him to indulge in his Jimi Hendrix daydreams, but they wound up being an even better outlet for his soulful side. Despite "Pink Balloon" and the ham-fisted opener "When Sex Was Dirty" -- bluesy bluster that pulls this closer to Lenny Kravitz than Hendrix -- Call It What It Is is largely devoted to this blissed-out, mellow vibe.