Wake Up the Nation
Creatively speaking, Paul Weller has wandered so far from what he once was that he’s now barely recognisable. Formerly The Jam’s poetic firebrand, Weller is now a 52-year-old father of several with an age-inappropriate haircut and apparent desire to be the UK’s answer to Bruce Springsteen. While getting older is not (yet) a crime, Weller has released a string of records that strain so hard with grittily authentic ‘craftsmanship’ that they’re in danger of giving themselves hernias.
All of which bodes ill for his 10th. We were dreading yet another slab of chugging, over-earnest dad/soul-rock – and there’s some of that here – but this is an odd, off-centre record. In fact, it’s so eccentrically produced that we have no idea what it’s trying to do.
There are echoes here of Roxy Music, Bowie, The Kinks, David Axelrod, Pink Floyd and Mott The Hoople, but ‘Andromeda’ and ‘Fast Car/Slow Traffic’ suggest Weller has made the acquaintance of UK indie boys Field Music. An extra star for mixing it up, then, but we still can’t say we like it.
Sharon O’Connell. Available now online.