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.
You may be interested in
- Mon 27th Feb 2017 to Wed 22nd Mar 2017 LaurelBuy Tickets
- Sat 4th Mar 2017 Marry Waterson, Marry Waterson and Oliver KnightThe Tin Music and Arts (Coventry)Buy Tickets
- Sun 5th Mar 2017 Martin Carthy, John KirkpatrickThe Guildford Institute (Guildford)More Info..
- Sat 11th Mar 2017 DuotoneKingskerswell Parish Church (Newton Abbot)Buy Tickets
- Sat 18th Mar 2017 to Mon 20th Mar 2017 Elvis CostelloBuy Tickets
- Wed 22nd Mar 2017 Convergence, Daniel Lanois, Nosaj Thing, Tyondai Braxton, Da...KOKO (Camden)Buy Tickets
- Sat 25th Mar 2017 Don-ECamden Centre (London)Buy Tickets
- Thu 30th Mar 2017 and Sat 3rd Jun 2017 Martin CarthyBuy Tickets
- Thu 30th Mar 2017 and Mon 24th Apr 2017 The Askew SistersBuy 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
- Tue 11th Apr 2017 to Sat 15th Apr 2017 Cameron AveryBuy Tickets
- Fri 21st Apr 2017 and Sun 23rd Apr 2017 deafheaven, Youth CodeBuy Tickets
- Sat 22nd Apr 2017 to Wed 26th Apr 2017 deafheavenBuy Tickets
- Tue 2nd May 2017 Booker T. JonesVicar Street (Dublin)Buy Tickets
- Thu 4th May 2017 to Wed 24th May 2017 Beans On ToastBuy Tickets
- Sat 20th May 2017 Let's Rock the Moor, OMD, Howard Jones, Sister Sledge, Tiffa...Marsh Meadow - Cookham (Berkshire)More Info..
- Fri 2nd Jun 2017 and Sun 4th Jun 2017 Wychwood FestivalBuy Tickets
- Sat 3rd Jun 2017 Wychwood Festival, OMDCheltenham Racecourse (Cheltenham)Buy Tickets
- Fri 30th Jun 2017 and Fri 14th Jul 2017 LevellersBuy Tickets
- Sun 2nd Jul 2017 Sounds of the City, Levellers, The WaterboysCastlefield Bowl (Castlefield)Buy Tickets
- Thu 6th Jul 2017 Mavis Staples, The James Hunter SixUnion Chapel (Islington)Buy Tickets
- Fri 7th Jul 2017 Mavis StaplesTramshed (Cardiff)Buy Tickets
- Sat 8th Jul 2017 Chilfest, OMD, Alexander O'Neal, Soul II Soul, Midge Ure, He...Pendley Meadow (Tring)More Info..
- Fri 14th Jul 2017 Five Star, Go West, Holly Johnson, Kim Wilde, Björn Aga...Howard Davis Park (St. Helier)Buy Tickets
- Thu 27th Jul 2017 to Sun 30th Jul 2017 Camp BestivalBuy Tickets
- Sat 29th Jul 2017 Camp Bestival, MadnessLulworth Castle (Dorset)Buy Tickets
- Thu 10th Aug 2017 to Sun 13th Aug 2017 BoomTown FairBuy Tickets
- Sun 24th Sep 2017 to Sat 30th Sep 2017 Nick Cave and the Bad SeedsBuy Tickets
- Tue 10th Oct 2017 Jolie HollandUnion Chapel (Islington)Buy Tickets