Working On a Dream and Wrecking Ball showed that Bruce Springsteen still has something to offer, but High Hopes feels like a stopgap release – a collection of covers, leftovers and reworked songs, with protest balladeer-in-training Tom Morello along for the ride.
It's a gamble that doesn't quite work, though it has its moments, notably Frankie Fell In Love, the waltzing strings of Hunter of Invisible Game, and a cover of Just Like Fire Would, by Aussie proto-punks the Saints.
There's a general lack of vigour, though – American Skin (41 Shots), dusted off in response to the Trayvon Martin killing, is morose and flat, while Down In The Hole blends an I'm On Fire steal with woozy alt-folk.
Morello's squealing guitar spices up a fiery reworking of The Ghost of Tom Joad but clashes with the rest of the E Street Band elsewhere.
Best tracks: Just Like Fire Would, Frankie Fell In Love --------------------
- Reviews by Nick Ward; CDs for review from Everyman, Nelson.
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