It's usually good news when Bruce Springsteen is angry about America, and that righteous fury over growing inequality and economic vultures is behind the best moments on Wrecking Ball. It's not technically an E Street album, but a track like We Take Care Of Our Own could fit in perfectly on Born In The USA and gives you the sense that the Boss is back.
When he strays from that glorious wall of sound, things go awry. For all his talk of electronic music and hip-hop influences, they're barely evident, except for the random rap bridge by gospel singer Michelle Moore on Rocky Ground, which sounds forced. Likewise, the scattering of sampled preachers and gospel comes across as exploitive rather than respectful. The plentiful Celtic rock and country influences produce mixed results. Note to all singers: if you're considering faking an accent, please don't.
Wrecking Ball could've been great but was derailed by unnecessary gimmicks.
Top track: We Take Care Of Our Own