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A Classic of the Seventies,
This review is from: All Mod Cons (Audio CD)
The Jam's third album saw them at the zenith of their powers. Their first two had established them as a vital force amongst the angry young musicians of the punk era, and In The City in particular is a classic in its own right. But All Mod Cons has all the energy of its predecessors with the added thoughtfulness probably enabled by a record contract and a decent time interval between albums (This Is The Modern World was reportedly rush-recorded by a record company desperate to exploit the success of In The City).
The two opening songs, the title track and To Be Someone, reflect some of the disillusion that must have been assailing the still-young Paul Weller, berating the hangers-on making a living from his talent.
Mr Clean is the first of three tracks, with David Watts and Billy Hunt, in which a real resentment of the meritocracy comes to the fore. The band performed David Watts on Top of the Pops at the time, and the disdain in Weller's voice and facial expression was tangible - it was very clear that "I wish I could have all he has got" is 100% ferrous irony.
English Rose is the best slow song Weller has recorded, and the final three tracks form a suite for the seventies, particularly the imagery of A-Bomb - "In the corner I can see my girl, fifteen geezers got her pinned to the wall" - and the thugs smelling of "too many right wing meetings" in Tube Station.
My one criticism is that, whereas on vinyl the dying notes of Place I Love segued perfectly into A-Bomb, the record company has sadly not reproduced the effect on the CD.