While “New England” still continues to warm that special place inside of me every single time I hear it, Billy Bragg has continued to release beautiful and angry yet somewhat inconsistent albums. He has slowed down somewhat because we have had to wait six years for the follow-up to “England, Half English”. But it needs to be said that “Mr Love & Justice” has been well worth the wait.
If you needed any further confirmation that Bragg is an excellent songwriter and that his regular backup band The Blokes is made up fantastic musicians, just check out this album. Robert Wyatt sings along on opener “I Keep Faith” and makes it an even more memorable song. Even more memorable are the Arab-spiced “O Freedom” and the gospel-enhanced “Sing Their Souls Back Home”.
The last two songs (“The Johnny Carcinogenic Show” and “Farm Boy”) kinda stand out because they aren’t up to par with the rest of the album but all in all, “Mr Love & Justice” is a perfect example of how a punk can age gracefully.