Album: Bruce Springsteen, Working on a Dream, (Columbia)

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The Independent Culture

Recorded in between times on last year's concert tour, and it sounds like it.

Brendan "Loud!" O'Brien is producing again and the E Street Band sounds delighted to be hammering on the anvil. But because it was made piecemeal, the album is also patchy. "Queen of the Supermarket" is Springteen kitsch, while "Life Itself" is more solemn than life itself. But for every slight misjudgement, there are three chugging, muscular ballads of the spirit of which Roy Orbison would have made much. And no politics.

Pick of the album: 'My Lucky Day': top-notch jackhammering

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