Top positive review
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That "Difficult" second album??
on 30 September 2012
Nearly 30 years between albums is pushing it a bit but this has been well worth the wait. Available on down load for a few days now hopefully this CD will sustain those of us who remember the Jam more than fondly. From the opening almost instrumental, bass led, "Ride" with a breathy repeated chorus the pace never flags, "Number 6" is a throwback to the Sound Affects era, although I'm not sure that the glockenspiel is strictly necessary - it's not as if it is there just to give Paul Weller a workout as he does some keyboards on here and I do believe he may be on the backing vocals as well. "Don't waste my time" has soul inflections which is no surprise with Steve Cropper guesting on this track. "Window shopping" is an old style rocker. "Glad I found my tears" is reminiscent of "Smithers-Jones" with a very catchy chorus and it runs into "The wide-open road" an instrumental with driving bass and more Jam era powerchords. "Find my way home" has backwards guitars, a basic song structure and a punky early Jam feel whilst "the Gaffa" escapes the Jam template a bit, echoing Ian Hunter's early solo stuff. "Drifting Dreams" as the name suggests is a strumalong quiter tune followed by a similar sounding "Coming on strong" which is as catchy as you like and again has Paul Weller on backing vocals. This is the highlight of the album for me. Next to last track "Reflection" has a "shalalala" sort of chorus, which is OK but the vocals seem a bit strained and this is my least favourite track on the album. The album closer "Senses of summer" is a jazzy, psychedelic number which borrows just a bit from "Norwegian wood".
Now I don't usually do a track by track breakdown on my album reviews but I have on this occasion because this is a very important album to me. I absolutely worshipped The Jam and have never really forgiven Paul Weller for breaking up the band. Knowing what I do now I realise it was inevitable and I suppose it was one of the few examples of a band giving up at the top of their game.
This album is as close as we will probably ever get to a "new" Jam album and for me it fits the bill admirably. Having criticised artists in the past for revisiting their past too much I could level the same accusation here to a certain extent but I am letting my heart rule my head this time. Given the 30 years between solo albums I am going to forgive Bruce Foxton for sticking to what he is good at - writing good songs and playing them well - with great assistance from his band it has to be said. Foxton was and is a much under-rated songwriter in my opinion, and whilst there may be a few technical imperfections here and there the Amazon star ratings state that you should issue 5 stars to an item if you love it - and I love this album. Welcome back Bruce.