Some bands are quite difficult to pin an easy label on, others less so. On the surface Mr Love and Justice seem to fall into the latter category. The problem is you can find yourself pinning so many “easy” labels on them that you still end up with a long, complex and ultimately unwieldy generic description. Just the sort of band that I like then, one that you can unravel like the layers of a musical onion. One layer may seem to be built from Byrds-esque jangle, another from the very psychedelic tarmac of roads once travelled by The Beatles in their later, experimental modus operandi. Others seem to relate to the more bucolic acid folksiness of revivalists such as Devendra Banhart. Lyrically there is the usual wonderful mix of quintessentially English Cider Dreamtime (Leaving Imber, This England) and more universal anthems of love and Haight, a musical scope that meanders between West Coast continental drifting and West Kennet pastoral musing. In the past I described the band as “Historical, socio-political, agri-folk pop” or even “farmers for fifteen minutes” but this time out they often seem to largely transcend the green fields below and head off for more trippy, cosmic voyages. Maybe they are no longer content to be Moonrakers and have decided to journey to the source of the reflection in the water. Either way, News From Nowhere sees Mr Love & Justice wearing their most accessible musical trappings yet, their musical references, literary interests and political leanings may be the same but somehow they have found a way to take it to a much wider audience.” - Dave Franklin

Dancing About Architecture

Lots of bands now come as a collective rather than a fixed line up, umbrella organisation means that whilst key individuals retain control others can be cherry picked to suit certain songs. The man with the ideas here is singer songwriter Steve Cox, obviously in love with jangly American folk rock and a certain strand of English whimsy. His core support stretches to some ten or so individuals – check out the website- from a pleasing variety of genres, making them an eclectic bunch and perfect for the shuffling through the twelve tracks on offer. Stepping into News From Nowhere is a bit like strolling into a decent music emporium, lots of possibilities and all open for consumption. Titles like Leaving Imber and This England speak of home grown concerns and whilst there are acoustic moments, there’s also a great deal of West Coast LA jingle in the melodies. According to one on line source, this album has far more oomph in the mix than previous offerings, the whole thing seems innocent yet the centre is strong and tight knit. You could make the point that vocally this isn’t most convincing article and there’s certainly better openers than Give Back My Heart later in the running order, This Channel’s Always On for one. However that’s all forgivable when the springing banjo drive of Red And Green coils through your headphones and leaves a smile across your face. Intriguing stuff.” - Simon Jones

Spiral Earth

Occasionally, an album will rise from the depths of the underground fully formed. It's a thrilling thing, reminding us to never stop scouring the shortwaves for brilliant and innovative art. News from Nowhere is the fourth album from London psych-folk rock outfit Mr. Love & Justice. It is built around lazy swaying drifting acoustic guitar melodies, which are verdigrised with psychedelic pirouettes - banjos, vocal harmonies, organs and percussions. It's a sound that links the entire history of London, from punk and rave to stone circles and Neolithic ritual. Steve Cox is the cornerstone of Mr. Love & Justice, who is joined by a band of merry string pluckers, beatsmiths and organauts, such as Ian Gregory on drums, who has played in the popular psychedelic XTC side project The Dukes Of Stratosphere. It is these little touches that draw you forward, that make you lean in and realize that a lot of love and attention has been lavished on these timeworn but timeless tunes. Give Back My Heart" starts things off with a mellow raga rock, along the lines of The Brian Jonestown Massacre when Anton Newcombe isn't being a psychopath. Acoustic guitars are transformed into microtonal shruti boxes, while understated marimba melodies underpin Cox's reedy vocals. It's somehow evocative of both India and Africa, at the same time, while still being rooted in Albionic soil. It's a poppy and accessible lead in to Mr. Love & Justice's world. Hollow Crown" is a bit doomier, moodier and more pensive with glistening post-punk guitars and a stomping beat. It has the same exotic beauty of Faith-era The Cure, a similar bedsit meditativeness as Felt before Lawrence went synthpop. The traditional miserabilist greyscale pallet of post-punk is shot through with opalescence, thanks to the gelatinous waves of mild flange. It is these kinds of detail that show Mr. Love & Justice know what they're doing and how they're going to do it. They have a clear and distinctive vision, which gives them more time and energy to focus on the details and crafting something unique. It is this focus that makes for true underground success. News from Nowhere was predominantly recorded at home, over the span of two years, but you'd never know it from Mr. Cox's fidelity. Even the most humble recording software can be capable of greatness, but it takes a lot of effort and know-how to achieve it. Effort, technical knowledge, individuality, innovation, accessibility - what more does one need for a four star record? It seems to me that Mr. Love & Justice's strong songwriting allowed the troubadours an opportunity to hone in and focus on crafting something excellent. The more you listen, the more is revealed - as phantom horn lines emerge, like on the spectral mood of "Doing That Time. If you like '60s music of any stripe, from The Beatles to the acid-mangled folk of Pentangle and The Incredible String Band, you will be transfixed by News from Nowhere. Also, aficionados of more recent artful pop, most specifically Elliott Smith, will be transfixed by the small details and exquisite craftsmanship of News From Nowhere. This is a major win for folk rock, perfect for the latter days of summer. Throw the windows wide and let the guitars ripple and shimmer, transforming your world into a gypsy caravan.” - J Simpson

Even Ground

The fourth release from Swindon-based musical collective Mr Love and Justice, headed up by Albion’s own Steve Cox (vocals and guitars) and ably accompanied by Marcus De ’Freitas (sax, bass, backing vocals), Rob Beckinsale (keyboards, guitar, backing vocals), and Brendan Hamley (percussion) has been honed over the last two years during their Lazy Sunday Afternoon acoustic showcase. As a result, the songs have been nicely bedded in, and here they are fine-tuned to perfection (my independent critical opinion, separate from the fact that Steve and I are colleagues). As a songwriter and performer Steve is very much in the English protest tradition, as shown by Hollow Crown and Red and Green. You know that not only has he written these songs, he believes every word he sings. This comes across in his vocal delivery and the musical intensity that the whole band bring to the work, particularly on the poignant Leaving Imber and the impassioned This England. As with Billy Bragg, the Levellers or Show of Hands --this band’s natural shelfmates -- the personal and political are inseparable, but there is also plenty of beauty here in the form of Strawberry Thief’s instrumental magic. This record of finely-crafted and well-observed songs elevates protest to an art form. A superb release on every level.” - James R. Turner

Albion Magazine