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Single review

Billy Bragg

Almost six years to the day since his last album release (England, Half English) the one time “Bard Of Barking” returns with this single to herald the imminent release of new album Mr. Love & Justice.

Older, aren’t we all? and most likely wiser the focus appears to have shifted from political encounters to more romantic ones. Backed up again by The Blokes the single features former Small Face Ian McLagan on Hammond and the legendary Robert Wyatt on backing vocals. Sadly it is only the inclusion of both gentlemen that raise this beyond average.

Historically Bragg has excelled in writing two distinct types of song, political polemics or stories of fumbled, desperate and often destructive love. Whilst ‘I Keep Faith’ could be interpreted as belonging to either camp it fails to get close to the standards previously set in songs like ‘Must I Paint You A Picture’ or ‘Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards’. At a time when the old injustices continue to exist and prosper and a questionable “War On Terror” being waged throughout the world Bragg should be more relevant than ever before. This only adds to the sense of anti-climax with this release.