Bridges Not WallsCooking Vinyl
By AJ Phink
If you want to look into the origins of folk punk movement, then you need look no further than Billy Bragg, he’s now been combining the political fury of the likes of The Clash with his own stripped own approach for over three decades. His latest release, Bridges Not Walls, indicates that he has lost none of his anger at political injustice, this isn’t surprising given the state of global politics, combine this with the election of Donald Trump and the continued rise of the far right and that should provide more than enough motivation to stir anyone into action who believes in equality and unity.
The Sleep Of Reason opens the Bridges Not Walls EP, the track features a full band and carries a fifties influenced melody that’s delivered with Billy Bragg‘s insightful lyricism, this is followed by King Tide And Sunny Day Flood which features a slower more thoughtful approach and holds a country influence in it’s grooves, as well as a prescient warning against global warning. Why We Build The Wall is classic Billy Bragg, just one man and his guitar, the track was originally written by American singer-songwriter Anais Mitchell, it’s a song that has taken on a whole new contemporary resonance with Donald Trump’s stated, but thankfully unrealised, vow to build a wall between the US and Mexico. Saffiyah Smiles is a Hammond drenched country soul shuffle that was inspired by the bravery of Saffiyah Khan, who famously smiled benignly in the face of the incensed leader of the English Defence League at an anti-immigrant demonstration. Bridges Not Walls is rounded out by Not Everything That Counts Can be Counted and Full English Brexit, both of which bring a melancholy finish to the EP.
With Bridges Not Walls Billy Bragg has released an EP that blends a multitude of styles, but despite the eclectic nature of Bridges Not Walls this is an EP that is the epitome of Billy Bragg‘s style. The stripped down musical approach, that has been his trademark for much of his career, is present on the majority of the tracks, and despite the passing of the years Billy Bragg has lost none of the political wit and venom that have been an ever present in his long career, and unless things change for the better anytime soon then sadly I can’t see Billy Bragg having a lack of inspiration in the foreseeable future.
Bridges Not Walls can be pre-ordered here
Billy Bragg‘s website can be found here