England, Half English probably won't strike one, either. Despite the help of the Blokes (ex-members of the Faces, Shriekback, and the Mekons), this isn't Mermaid Avenue, the CDs on which Bragg benefited from Woody Guthrie lyrics, split composing duties with roots rockers Wilco, and earned some notice in the States. Bragg's own lyrics too often fall flat. Even a potential anti-free-trade anthem like "NPWA" (released as a single only in the U.S.) fails to inspire. And there's the harsh accent, reminiscent of another Essex native who never made it big in America, the late Ian Dury. A few catchy songs notwithstanding, England, Half English is destined to be another album strictly for the Brits.
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