On his 15th solo album, Paul Weller shows no desire to stop pushing the boundaries of experimentation.
Weller’s latest record, On Sunset, is his most daring release to date, yet is perhaps the most rounded and mesmerising of his glittering career.
There will always be blasts of old-school Weller that make cameo appearances. However, despite turning 62 in May, the modfather’s new material is made accessible to new admirers by a fresh and modern style.
Forever being anything but conventional, Weller introduces his latest LP with an episodic opener. ‘Mirror Ball’ is almost eight minutes of dynamism, with splashes of electro-pop, shimmering guitar, distortion and classical piano.
The opener is followed by ‘Baptiste’, a warm blend of soul and vintage rock that leans into an old-school style whilst retaining a fresh sound.
On ‘Old Father Tyme’, the music veteran invents his own brand of spacey soul that is both puzzling and excellent at the same time. The triumphant number is a stand-out, showcasing one of music’s true legends at his very best in an anthem tailor-made for the summer.
Title track ‘On Sunset’ runs the aforementioned close for the coveted prize that is being my favourite song on the album. Acoustic undertones compliment tussling injections of bongos and electric guitar before waves of gospel-sounding jazz are introduced.
Weller has gained a reputation for shining a light on new talent and does so again on this record. On ‘Earth Beat’, the sound of rain washes over the vocals of the modfather and R&B prodigy Col3trane, a North London prodigy tipped by many to be the next Frank Ocean.
The new material takes fans worlds away from the classic sounds of Weller’s earlier albums, and even further away from the work of The Jam and The Style Council. However, shunning ‘On Sunset’ will only deprive people of a fascinating insight into the creative mind of one of the world’s most talented musical heavyweights.
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