BILLY BRAGG

Mr Love & Jus­tice Cook­ing Vinyl

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music Reviews - TONY CLAY­TON-LEA

and have their col­lec­tive arms slop­ing along the ground, scratch­ing it un­til the fin­ger­nails tear. The ti­tle track, If You Ever Leave, I Keep Faith (with Robert Wy­att guest­ing) and O Free­dom sal­vage the record some­what, but over­all there’s a strong no­tion of the one-man Clash hav­ing some­how trans­formed into an eight-legged Broth­er­hood of Man.

Downoad track: I Keep Faith

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Long re­garded as some­thing of a na­tional trea­sure by the UK mu­sic me­dia (as well as an in­flu­en­tial ref­er­ence point for the likes of Jamie T, Jack Pe­nate and Remi Ni­cole), Billy Bragg con­tin­ues his de­cline into mid­dle-age with an album – his first stu­dio record­ing in six years – that does lit­tle to main­tain his stand­ing. Declam­a­tory singing and an acute ear for melody were al­ways Bragg’s call­ing cards, but here there are few rea­sons to be cheer­ful. Songs such as I Al­most Killed You, Sing Their Souls Back Home, You Make Me Brave Farm Boy

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