With each release the UK music press does seem to get into a frenzy to get a slice of the ‘Modfather’ Paul Weller. It’s been no different with the release of ‘Sonik Kicks‘ which is now a far cry from his beginnings in The Jam. Or is it? This new release once again hints of some of his former stamping grounds and there are plenty of acknowledgements to his asteemed peers from the 60’s music scene.
‘Green‘ gets the show on the road which is resembles something U2 did on the ‘Pop‘ platter, which is married up with some strange psychedelic dream. This feeds perfectly into ‘The Attic‘ a classic piece of pleasure all vibrant, short and sweet. A hark back to the old under a two and half-minute chart song. What follows though has Weller rattling off the lyrics “I don’t care about this old world…I’ll take my chances” and you have to believe him too. At such a gusto pace this track ‘Kling I Klang‘ I could easily imagine this song forming part of some mythical musical. Well The Who had done it.‘Sleep Of The Serene‘ an instrumental again delves into his dream world merrily bleeping and blurping away. But this serves well as a bridge to ‘By The Waters‘ a rich acoustic composition nestled on an orchestral accompaniment. It is uncomplicated and spacious that lends well to Weller’s brash vocals. Whereas the single states ‘That Dangerous Age‘, maybe for some of us but the man seems fearless. This is possibly him at his most soulful yet, a real cool body mover that you could envisage being a Northern Soul floorfiller. Whilst the longest song on this disc is ‘Study In Blue‘ a reggae tinged affair that returns us to a more sedate level exploring deep rich sounds and shows us it is hard to pin a label on him.
‘Dragonfly‘ now sees the man crooning; “she’s like a dragonfly with no fire“, but this song really sparks out at you with some epic guitar riffs. One thing I have come to expect on this album is that not to expect the same. This is typified with ‘When Your Gardens Overgrown‘ a song that jumps and down with a honky tonky brashness, fun being the main element. ‘Around The Lake‘ could be from a long-lost 60’s TV sci-fi series yet to be written, all that was missing were some explosions. Laced with alien keyboard sounds like those made hip by Gerry Anderson did come to my mind.
These weird sound effects then migrate via ‘Twilight‘ into the next track ‘Drifters‘ a song you could almost tango to. It is driven by his frantic strutting guitar. I’m sure he is a fan of Traffic as ‘Paperchase‘ echoes them perfectly. With sparkling keyboard tones and a foot tapping beat that forge and cement together with his mild-mannered vocals. To round things of we have ‘Be Happy Children‘, exactly how I feel after listening to this collection of tunes. Love him or hate the man he has never been afraid to experiment. Believe the hype as this album will have kicked down many doors though plenty I am sure would have happily opened it for him. 9/10 Buy Now!
Video: That Dangerous AgeLive: BBC Maida Vale 2012