Paul Weller – On Sunset
Paul Weller returns to grace us with his 26th studio album, and what an album it is. From the Summery feel of the opening track ‘Mirrorball’ with its samples, sound effects, loops and overdubs “I’m trying different things as much as I can – time is of the essence, man!” says Weller, through to the closer, ‘Rockets’, it’s an album of experimentation, of imagination, of reminiscing, looking to the future and of pure soulful music.
The first highlight on the record, the second track in, ‘Baptiste’, almost like a reworking of ‘Broken Stones’ but this time by The Style Council, or a revisit to ‘All the Pictures on the Wall’ from the Wild Wood album. The Hammond organ also provides that stand out sound which makes you hark back to the golden days of the mid-80s when he and Mick Talbot were in probably, the best group in the world. Well so they said, and who were we to argue? Talbot contributes on three tracks on this record, incidentally. The only thing missing here is the Gospel choir.
Followed by ‘Old Father Tyme’, proof if ever needed that Weller’s voice is still up there with the best of them, a tremendous tune based around a jazzy, funk riff with a lyric that sees the singer ponder over days gone by but also looking forward. ‘More’ starts on a slow tempo drum beat, which gathers pace, and builds to a crescendo including strings, flutes, female backing vocals featuring Julie Gros from Le Superhomard, and results in a track that wouldn’t have been out of place on his self-named solo debut album.
The public has already had their whistles whetted by the release of two singles from the album already, ‘Village’ which tells of a man happy and content with his worth and no need to sample the apparent greener grass on the other side. “Not a thing I’d change if I could / I’m happy here in my neighborhood.”, and ‘Earth Beat’ reminds us of our place in the cosmos.
Title track ‘On Sunset’ begins with the promise of George Harrison’s ‘My Sweet Lord’ but evolves into an easy listening, Santana inspired tune which fades into the sea lapping at the shores as Weller reminisces again on times gone by when the first band The Jam played LA a million years ago, and how times and places change.
There’s more than a hint of Bowie on the tracks ‘Equanimity’ and ‘Rockets’, the latter showcasing the violin playing talents of Jimmy Lea from 70s mega rockers Slade with a ‘Coz I Luv You’ riff, and borrowing also from previous Weller penned tunes ‘Pushbutton Automatic’ and ‘Brand New Toy’, with a vocal not unlike Steve Marriott from The Small Faces, plus the inclusion of a brass band and Sgt Pepper ending. ‘Walking’ has a feeling of ‘Saturn’s Pattern’, Weller’s 2015 album, and could easily have come from that record. A catchy tune with piano lead, it will be great to hear it played live once we get back to live gigs being safe for us all to return to.
This is a much-anticipated collection of recordings from the Weller camp, not only from his army of dedicated followers but music fans in general. Made at Black Barn Studios with not only the usual suspects but a few surprise names dropping in to add to the party. There’s no filler, there’s not a bad track there, its Weller at his brilliant best. Maybe not quite reaching the heights of a ‘Wild Wood’ or ‘Stanley Road’, but as he has aged, his music has evolved too. He won’t make a record like them again, but this is a sign of a man always looking for new influences and never resting on his laurels. He’s experimenting with digital music, synthesizers, overdubs and effects like never before. This is a fine hours’ worth of music to chill to on a warm summer evening, cold beer in hand.
Top marks again, Mr Modfather. As you were.
‘On Sunset’ has arrived – the latest album from Paul Weller. #OnSunset
Listen to Village here: https://PaulWeller.lnk.to/VillagetPR
Paul began working on the forthcoming new album On Sunset very soon after finishing 2018’s masterpiece “True Meanings”. “On Sunset” features ten classic yet modern Paul Weller songs including masterly pop classics, heart-tugging ballads, and occasional touches of experimentalism. It’s an album that sees Weller taking a rare glance into the rear-view mirror as he speeds into the 2020s. The 10 tracks on the album are:
MIRROR BALL / BAPTISTE / OLD FATHER THYME / VILLAGE / MORE / ON SUNSET / EQUANIMITY / WALKIN’ / EARTH BEAT / ROCKETS.
Written and recorded at Black Barn Studios in Surrey, On Sunset was produced by Jan “Stan” Kybert and Paul himself with help from Charles Rees. String arrangements by Hannah Peel.
As well as digitally, the album is released on CD, Deluxe CD (includes extra tracks), double gatefold vinyl, coloured vinyl, and cassette.
On Sunset pre-order link: https://PaulWeller.lnk.to/OnSunsetPR