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Troubled Fourth Album from Weller
on 13 September 2001
To follow the multi-platinum success of the Stanley Road album, Weller strips back the production and takes his groove ridden angst to another new place. No compromise for chart action here.
It's rumoured he was wrestling with personal demons while making the album and with the angry guitar slashes and impassioned vocals of the opening eponymous track and the rocking single "Peacock Suit", you can feel it. They really bristle with energy and vibes.
In much the same way as his towering stage presence, a lot of Weller's recorded work has an astonishing physicality. His songs seem to squirm and push at the edges with real dynamic force.
However the standout Track on Heavy Soul is "Up In Suze's Room", a smokey, hazy accoustic lope of a song which sees the protagonist getting wasted with his new love and loving it. Achingly fabulous.
By this artist's impeccably high standards though, there are a couple of songs which don't really come across to the listener: "Heavy Soul II" is infuriatingly faded in as a stand alone instrumental. "Brushed" has a great voodoo groove and more of that sinewy dynamism but is never as exciting as the first four bars promise. "As You Lean Into The Light" lacks the warmth of Weller's usual sincerity and he sounds detatched and maudlin.
Still, a fascinating album by this finest of singer songwriters and a worthy companion to this year's standout "Heliocentric" collection.