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Here's A New Thing,
This review is from: Paul Weller (Audio CD)
In the 90's, critics revelled in calling this the 'readily ignored' solo album, given that this was the start of one of the greatest comebacks of all time on the British music scene, that seems to have been a misjudgement and then some. Having disbanded The Jam at just the right time, then run The Style Council into the ground, Weller had gone to ground, and gone back to basics, writing songs top to bottom on piano and guitar. He went back to playing live, playing around with covers and playing around with new ideas. This is Weller's great transitional album, it really is Weller as you'd not heard him before, and how you'd never quite hear him again.
The self titled solo debut takes, in soul, acid jazz, r and b, funk and blends them into a technicolour summery world of it's own. The layered production by Brendan Lynch, mature playing from Weller himself, Jacko Peake's omnipresent flute and sax and of course, Steve White's amazing drumming all combine to make an effect that is really like nothing else.
Uh Huh Oh Yeah is a strong, funky opener, based around a strong hofner bass line, jangly guitar lines, powerful drumming, with a determined lyric about finding one's own self belief.
I Didn't Mean To Hurt You, one of the more strightforward sounding tracks on the disc which highlights Weller's skill as a bass player, as well as what would become the recurring Weller lyrical theme of regret towards a loved one.
Bull Rush takes us back to Weller's lowest period aiming to get back to the very top. Psychedelia filled with mellotron and real flutes, and a mine of keyboards over a sub Who accoustic pattern, which wipes out at the end in a blur of phasing and samples. Sublime.
Round and Round is possibly the weakest track on the album, demoed and performed previously with his then wife, Dee C Lee, this is a straightforward enough funk track with an impassioned vocal.
Remember How We Started is a sultry, steamy sweaty summer soul track, telling about the first time for him and a partner. You can almost feel the sunlight filtering through the curtains hementioned.
Above The Clouds is lighter, summery acid jazz, again searching for self belief, which despite being one of the most obviously commercial tracks on the disc, surprisingly didn't do much to sell as a single.
Clues is abrasive elctro accoustic, folk tinged with Jazz. Weller and White essentially rhyffing off each other in an intense midsection while Peake tops it all off with some wild flute.
Into Tommorrow was the single whcih signalled to Weller nmore than anyone else that he had found his 'way again'. Hard edged R and B guitars, an impassioned vocal about forging ahead and spirited playing all round.
Amongst Butterflies contains the first appearance by Marco Nelson on bass, who would be Weller's studio player for the next three albums in the main. A summery Acid Jazz paean to lost innocence with a sprightly step.
The Strange Museum dates back to the late daysof the Style Council, with Mick Talbot sharing his final writing credit with Weller. A strange, dark interlude with gently played wulitzer piano and soft drumming, creating a sinister feel.
Bitterness Rising is an exercise in dynamics, playing from soft to loud, to soft to incredibly loud at the end. A more straightforward rock track, following the lyrical theme of self belief once more.
Kosmos stands a real high in Weller's canon of writing. An introspection on the human spirit set to a whirl of multilayed effects and instruments, blurred together by Brendan Lynch over one of the most interesting chord patterns Weller has ever taken to.