The Modfather continues to prove relevant after 4 decades
Label: Polydor Records
Paul Weller has been in one of the most productive phases of a career that has just entered its 5th decade. The ex Jam and Style Council front man this month released his 4th album in the past 5 years following on from 2017’s A Kind of Revolution and 2018’s True Meanings, both of which were largely well received stripped back affairs especially True Meanings. On Sunset carries forward with this somewhat but allows far greater room for experimentation and to allow a grandiose marriage of Weller’s vast array of influences and previous sounds. There are certainly more than a few traces of the heavily Jazz influenced sound of Style Council and a heavier leaning into electronic and poppier sounds than we have seen in recent Weller efforts.
One of the most surprising things about this record is how fine Weller’s vocals sound throughout, where many of his contemporaries in recent years have started to sound like distant reminders of past glory, his aging vocals marry each style he tries his hand at to great effect and he certainly doesn’t sound his 62 years. There are several lengthy tracks that allow for greater diversification in sound, one of these is the opener Mirror Ball that draws an eclectic mix of influences and fuses them perfectly with hints of soul, funk and indie on display.
Particular highlights are the pre-album single Earth Beat which is far and away one of Weller’s poppiest efforts for a few years with some fine harmonies with his backing vocals, one first listen it can seem like a bit of a jump from his normal sound but after a few listens its one of the albums stand outs. Village is another pop centric track that really demonstrates the maturity of Weller’s vocals.
For someone who has released 15 solo records and altogether 26 albums, this is an incredibly forward focused album that feels both accessible and vastly imaginative at the same time, it’s a great testament to his ability as a songwriter and instrumentalist that he is able to remain as evergreen as he has in the past few years and the past 5-10 years has certainly provided its share of highlights in an already legendary career in the canon of British Indie acts. Here’s hoping that On Sunset is an indicator of yet more great things to come from one of the UK’s greatest artists and hopefully there are many years of greatness in him yet.
Listen to the full album below on Spotify.
Music lover from Surrey with a particular soft spot for Indie/britpop and classic rock. Can be found in the nearest record shop expanding my collection.