Mr.Love & Justice - Billy Bragg Album Review
With his band The Blokes, Billy Bragg comes out of 'recording retirement' after 6 years in the wilderness.
Bragg and musical buddies Ian McLagan, Ben Mandelson, Lu Edmonds, Martyn Barker, Simon Edwards follow their inimitable raw and ready approach once again. He's also joined by guest vocalist Robert Wyatt for one song, opener Keep The Faith which sounds like something out of a Van Morrison songbook. The soulful country tinged formula is raining down all over this release. Bragg isn't one for the big impression musically, and the overall feel is a rather uncomfortable marriage with his band, to the extent, that on the limited edition issue, he's release the same tracklisting as a solo effort, which Bragg devotees will probably prefer. For me Bragg has always been a solo performer, and always will be. On I Almost Killed You there's a strong Irish musical connection, nice splashes of harmonica, accordion and echoed handclaps aplenty punctuated by edgy guitar solos. M for Me is a gentle acoustic lead ballad which is a typical Bragg composition that is sharply contrasted by the rough - edged bar band sound on the R'n'B shuffle of The Beach Is Free. On You Make Me Brave and If You Ever Leave he's reflecting on relationships, though they're limp ballads, like a man resigned to accepting how they are, or should be. Above all, there's no indication of any heartfelt emotion, instead a kind of middle aged acceptance. The last three song sound like a man who hasn't thought through the fact he's confronted with making an entire album, which after half a decade, isn't a good creative sign.
Knowing Bragg's passion for having a pop at what he considers to be an injustice, it's surprising the lack of real conviction and his forte, passion. Maybe, as he approaches the big 50, he's mellowing after all, and it's a great shame because this doesn't match anything from his effusive past. There's too much of a sing-along quality like Sing Their Souls Back Home and I Keep Faith In You.
File under: Bitterly disappointing.
- Thu 22nd Dec 2016 Billy BraggThe Electric Palace (Bridport)Buy Tickets
- Mon 16th Jan 2017 Billy Bragg, Joe Henry: Shine a LightUnion Chapel (Islington)Buy Tickets
- Tue 17th Jan 2017 Billy Bragg, Joe Henry: Shine a LightSt George's Hall (Bristol)Buy Tickets
- Fri 20th Jan 2017 Billy Bragg, Joe Henry: Shine a LightCity Hall (Salisbury)Buy Tickets
- Sun 22nd Jan 2017 Billy Bragg, Joe Henry: Shine a LightOpen (Norwich)Buy Tickets
- Tue 24th Jan 2017 Billy Bragg, Joe HenryGrand Opera House (York)Buy Tickets
- Wed 25th Jan 2017 Billy Bragg, Joe HenryWhitley Bay Playhouse (Whitley Bay)Buy Tickets
You may also be interested in
- Fri 16th Dec 2016 Paul Weller, Stealing Sheep, Temples, Kathryn Williams, Robe...: People Powered - Concerts for CorbynBrighton Dome/ Concert Hall (Brighton)Buy Tickets
- Fri 16th Dec 2016 and Sun 5th Feb 2017 Glen HansardBuy Tickets
- Sun 18th Dec 2016 to Sat 3rd Jun 2017 Martin CarthyBuy Tickets
- Thu 12th Jan 2017 to Sun 15th Jan 2017 CameraBuy Tickets
- Mon 16th Jan 2017 to Sat 21st Jan 2017 Jolie HollandBuy Tickets
- Thu 2nd Feb 2017 Eliza CarthyO2 ABC (Glasgow)Buy Tickets
- Mon 6th Feb 2017 to Mon 20th Feb 2017 Kate NashBuy Tickets
- Tue 7th Feb 2017 to Mon 13th Feb 2017 Ben WattBuy Tickets
- Wed 22nd Feb 2017 Marry Waterson and Oliver KnightThe Cluny 2 (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)Buy Tickets
- Sat 4th Mar 2017 Marry Waterson, Marry Waterson and Oliver KnightThe Tin Music and Arts (Coventry)Buy Tickets
- Sat 11th Mar 2017 DuotoneSt Bartholomews Church - Coffinswell (Newton Abbot)Buy Tickets
- Sat 18th Mar 2017 to Mon 20th Mar 2017 Elvis CostelloBuy Tickets
- Fri 31st Mar 2017 Teenage Cancer Trust, Paul WellerRoyal Albert Hall (Kensington)More Info..
- Sat 1st Apr 2017 to Thu 13th Apr 2017 Paul WellerBuy Tickets
- Thu 6th Apr 2017 and Sun 9th Apr 2017 FaustusBuy Tickets
- Fri 14th Apr 2017 Michael Franti & SpearheadUnderworld (Camden)Buy Tickets
- Mon 24th Apr 2017 to Wed 26th Apr 2017 deafheavenBuy Tickets
- Tue 2nd May 2017 Booker T. JonesVicar Street (Dublin)Buy Tickets
- Mon 30th Oct 2017 Yann TiersenRoyal Albert Hall (Kensington)Buy Tickets