sat 24/06/2017

CD: Paul Weller - A Kind Revolution | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Paul Weller - A Kind Revolution

CD: Paul Weller - A Kind Revolution

He might not change the world, but all hail the Modfather's evolution

If there is a thread that connects the the collection, it’s melody and a pursuit of lighter notes
'Tell Banksy he's fired'

We live in a time of particularly polarised opinion, and Paul Weller remains a divisive figure. To some he’s the Changing Man, the Modfather, the Most Modernest Modernist that ever was. To others, however, he’s come to represent the very chromosome that turns perfectly good songwriting into "dadrock" and creates the sort of tuneful terrain on which Kasabian can flourish.

While I’m not here to defend Kasabian, there’s a clear case to be made for Paul Weller. Forgetting for a moment the breadth of musical ambition he displayed in the Jam and Style Council years, recent(ish) albums have seen a willingness to experiment with textures and colours that have, quite often, achieved interesting and satisfying results.

It was a surprise then, when lead single “Long Long Road” was released and sounded like the opening bars of “Flashdance” had been welded onto “Let it Be” (the third most ponderous piece of pop ever to have been released) with all the excitement and forward-thinking momentum of someone decorating a buy-to-let bedsit in woodchip and flatpack. It seemed an unfathomable move then – and even more so now in the knowledge that it is, by any measure, the worst thing on offer here.

In places, A Kind Revolution carries on where Weller’s most recent work leaves off. Album standout “One Tear” is inventive and impossible to pin down, and if there is a thread that connects it to the rest of the collection, it’s melody and a pursuit of lighter notes. The lead vocal, carrying almost Terry Callier-like phrasing, is beautifully assisted by the dusky tones of Boy George.

Elsewhere, “She Moves with the Fayre” and “The Cranes Are Back” (the former featuring Robert Wyatt on trumpet and backing vocals) are surprisingly subtle and prepossessing, while the more upbeat moments, like opener “Woo Sé Mama” (boasting backing vocals from none other than Madeline Bell) and “Nova” capture well the sound of a man with a band simply enjoying himself.

A Kind Revolution might not be about to change the world, but it’s an album full of good tunes from a man who flat-out refuses to cash in on his history, preferring instead to push forward with new work. All hail the evolution!

@jahshabby

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