Review of Tooth & Nail New Album by Billy Bragg
Comebacks seem all the rage at the moment. Justin Timberlake, Girls Aloud and David Bowie to name a few. ITV even have a whole show dedicated to bringing a band back. Whilst Billy Bragg may not be as big as some of these, his low key comeback is a very welcome one.
‘Tooth & Nail’ represents Bragg‘s first album in some five years and his thirteenth in total. ‘Tooth & Nail’ is a real laidback, relaxed and even mellow comeback for the activist. The album was recorded in California by producer Joe Henry, perhaps creating the inspiration for the easy listening tracks.
Given the synopsis above, you could be forgiven for thinking Billy Bragg has gone soft, or lost his edge. Well fear not, Bragg loads every track with real message. This can be demonstrated well in the track ‘January Song’ which looks at corporate greed and its impact on all of our lives. This is the track that opens the whole recording and sets the scene for the rest of the album.
Whilst the album has some interludes of hope and even optimism, the thread of the opener is brilliantly picked up in ‘There Will Be A Reckoning’, which sends a rousing message against the world leaders “the politicians who led us to this fate”.
Whilst the album has genuinely strong messages that tug on your various emotions. ‘Tooth & Nail’ delivers on the heritage that Billy Bragg has in the music business. It delivers, musically, the back drop to Bragg‘s existence, his story and you can feel the various emotions from within.
Overall this is a strong recording that delivers on many different levels. Bragg has made a great comeback that may not make the headlines, but is possibly one of the best contributions of any of the comeback artists to music and life.