When Grace Petrie played Glastonbury’s Leftfield stage, an awestruck Billy Bragg declared that she “stole the fucking show”.
The influence of Bragg in his angry prime is evident in this superb album, the title track of which is a declaration of optimism for the capacity of people to change things for the better.
Also like Bragg, she has a great way with witty couplets and pathos. ‘Farewell to Welfare’ is an excoriating blast of rage against the government, declaiming against its attacks on the most vulnerable to pay the rich, with particular venom directed towards homophobic “women’s minister” Theresa May.
“I used to dream of a Britain where I would be proud to bring up kids/Now I’d settle for a Britain where I’d be allowed to bring up kids,” is just one superb line, although it’s tempting to spend this entire review quoting the lyrics in full to what is surely one of the finest political songs of recent years.
Grace told Socialist Worker, “I’m a socialist, but I didn’t set out to write a political album.
“Events since the so-called election and the cobbling together of the coalition inspired a massive amount of anger in me. The only way I’ve ever felt able to have a platform for that anger is to get out and do gigs and write songs.”
“A lot of young people are disillusioned with politics at the moment and feel that they can’t change things. The recent militant demonstrations by students have been a massive step in the right direction, and if I can be a small part of that by getting out and singing these songs then that is what I have to do.”
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