4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Back In The Room (Audio CD)
Few musicians have been as unlucky as Bruce Foxton. Imagine for a minute you are 26 years old and bass player in the biggest band in the UK. You look ahead and see years and years of success just waiting to be experienced. Then one short band meeting later and it's all over. For Bruce and Rick, just young men, in their prime it was devastating (almost Pete Best esque) and something from which neither one recovered - until now that is. Whilst the intervening 30 years for Bruce have been a creative desert we now have an album as good as anything I have heard in recent times. The biggest compliment I can give is that it is better than anything Weller has produced since Stanley Road. That's not hard I can hear some of you say but when you think where Bruce has come from it's incredible. This album contains some absolute gems in Don't waste my time, Glad I found my tears and Drifting dreams, some very good songs in Window Shopping, Coming on strong and the Gaffa and no real duffers, even the two instrumentals have a unique charm. It is so well crafted with a great sleeve, you get the feeling that it has been a real labour of love. One gripe is the choice of single; Number 6 was the wrong choice, the song never really achieves its promise. That aside I can't understand why radio play has been disappointing and why has there been no Jools Holland appearance? Back in 1982 when the bombshell was dropped I had a fleeting thought that Bruce and Rick should have carried on without Paul. After all he did not say he was breaking up the band, just that he was leaving. Rock history is littered with examples where seemingly irreplacable members of bands have been replaced; Brian Wilson, Peter Green, Peter Gabriel spring to mind. The tragedy is Bruce and Rick were so dependent on Paul that you can bet they never even considered it. I'm not saying it would have been easy but this album and the impressive contribution of Russell Hastings shows what could have been done. Anyway that is history now and we'll never know, what I do know is how good this album is, please buy it, you will be glad you did.
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Initial post: 27 Nov 2012 10:32:22 GMT
Last edited by the author on 27 Nov 2012 10:32:36 GMT
Yes, it's a (surprisingly) good album, considering the abysmal songs Foxton wrote while in The Jam. It is very enjoyable listen and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality. However, it is in no way superior, either musically, lyrically or conceptually to "Heavy Soul", "As Is Now" and certainly not to "22 Dreams". Furthermore, "Wake Up The Nation" and "Sonik Kicks", while not to everyone's taste, are brave and experimental, whereas Foxton's album sounds how one would imagine The Jam would have sounded if they had carried on, like The Stones or Van Morrison, trotting out an album every few years.
Having said that, I bought it and I like it.
Finally, quite why the singer Russell Hastings tries to replicate Weller's vocal nuances is baffling.
In reply to an earlier post on 27 Nov 2012 11:26:45 GMT
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Yeah, fair enough I'm sure a lot of fans would agree on his post Stanley Road albums. This is just my personal opinion as since then I have been disappointed with the quality and feel of his albums; As Is Now is probably the best of the post Stanley Road efforts. Heavy Soul had some good songs on it but for me the production let it down badly. I suppose I'm more of a Jam fan than a Weller fan and I think there is a subtle difference and your point that this is how a Jam album would sound today is excellent and is probably why I like it so much. I agree Weller is always going to be much stronger lyrically but the quality of the songwritingpartnership between Bruce and Russell is the most surprising thing.Your point on Russell Hastings voice is interesting I wonder how much of his sound is natural and how much is an attempt to mimic Paul? who I understand did contribute some vocals to the album (I'm sure I can hear them singing together at one point). For me that fact that Weller is on this album is the ultimate compliment to the quality of it. Where it all goes from here will be interesting. I think its time to drop the 'From The Jam' project, which just has a sad ring to it, for the live shows and just go under the Bruce Foxton heading which now has a re-newed credibility. Can't wait to see them tour the album next year the new songs will make a massive difference and add a contemporary feel to contrast with the nostalgia element. One final point what price a Bruce and Paul album in the future? We can dream!
In reply to an earlier post on 27 Nov 2012 12:58:56 GMT
Re: Heavy Soul. The production on that is ok for me. It is 22 Dreams and Wake Up The Nation which suffer from appalling sound.
I understand why Weller split The Jam. He was growing away from the others. Time has shown he got there in the end and has had a good career.
I totally agree re: From The Jam. It does indeed smack of sadness. That is why I have never seen them live (I saw The Jam live ten times between 77 and 82). I think Bruce should tour his new album in its own right, throwing in Smithers-Jones and (if he has to!) News Of The World and maybe a few covers like So Sad About Us or some of the less popular Jam tracks with his bass to the fore like Its Too Bad, especially, or Life From A Window.
Unfortunately, Russell Hastings has too much of the tribute band singer about him. He needs to try and develop his own image. I wonder if he and Weller were actually in the studio at the same time? I suspect not, and Weller laid down his vocals separately.
When I saw The Jam live, I always stood to the right of the stage, in front of Bruce, never Paul. Bruce I always viewed as the nice bloke, Paul as the miserable, moody genius. That probably still stands today.
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