Music Review: Mr. Love & Justice

Billy Bragg. Anti-.

In the early ’80s, Billy Bragg played pared-down punk songs built around appealing doo-wop chord progressions. That early simplicity still prevails underneath Mr. Love & Justice‘s orchestration and polish. Twangy songs like “If You Ever Leave” bear the mark of his collaboration with Wilco, and the extraordinary-rendition ballad “O Freedom” has enough hiss and vinegar to prove he hasn’t lost his political edge. But Bragg was never one for sneering, and on his 11th album, his trademark sweetness and sincerity are in full force.