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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 25 July 2017
arrived on time. great cd. thanks
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on 12 April 2000
When I heard that this was going to be a more acoustic based affair in the style of Wildwood I naturally had high expectations. However if you love Wildwood take these expectations down a few notches and you've good a pretty good serviceable album. Probably on a par with Stanley Road and Heavy Soul though on the first few listen's lacking some of the former's memorable melodies and anything to match the latter's fantastic 'Up in Suze's Room'. However the string arrangements by Robert Kirby are superb and really enhance the songs they adorn. Whales Tale sounds like The Band in their prime and the closing track is worth the price of admission alone. Weller is still on top of his game most of the time here even though he can't spell 'their' on the handwritten lyric sheet. Shouldn't have bunked off those school lessons to sharpen up those musical skills Mr Weller. Glad you did though!
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on 31 May 2001
Paul has always had a solo obsession with the sun. Here it has illuminated him into a much needed change of direction after the raucous Heavy Soul. It's better produced, better thought out, and better played, as if to compensate the sometimes jarring aspects of it's rough and ready predecessor. More laid back and accoustic, but nevertheless essential, Heliocentric is a shining example of the man with his back against the wall, coming up with the goods.
Not that there isn't time for rocking out. There's No Drinking After You're Dead leaps out of the speakers like nothing heard from Paul in the last twenty years. He's The Keeper is a tad slower, but never fails to grab the attention, and is well worth checking out live.
TSC rear their head in the beligerent shanty A Whale's Tale, which while upbeat is probably the weakest song on the album. With some fans this competes with Sweet Pea, his ode to his daughter Leah. You either love or hate it. It's quite a nice jaunty little tune, and pleasant enough, but was a mistake as a single. Back in the fire almost goes back to Wild Wood, dreamy and surreal, with almost a touch of hip hop in the production technique. Picking Up Sticks is a great piece of psychadelia, addictive and interspersed with what is more a drum break, than a solo, it benefits from shifting up a gear into a funked up jam at the end.
The real strengths lie in the ballads though. Frightened shows the vulnerable Paul in a way he's not shown before, and it's charming. Dust and Rocks is a high spot, tender and warm, it also boasts what is perhaps the finest outro of Weller's career. With Time and Temperance shows the Nick Drake influence to the full, while exploring the marriage break up yet again. Then there's Loveless. Epic and beautiful, it gets to where TSC's Confessions album never quite managed, and makes you wish he had in the first place. All of these bolstered by the superb string arrangements of Robert Kirby show the man maybe mellowing, but when he's mellowing so nicely, and obviously better than appeared after the dispensable Brand New Start, you don't seem to mind.
A great summer album, and a great example of Paul's gentler side. Jam fans may be divided, but general Paul and music fans should find something worth the investment here.
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Heliocentric thankfully still confirms Weller as one of Britains'best songwriters. True,this latest offering does not quite reach the heights of "Wildwood" or Stanley Road", but it's certainly miles better than the patchy "Heavy Soul" album from '97. The three year hiatus seems to have done Weller some good. The tracks "With Time and Temperance" and "Picking up Sticks" are mellow and reflective in their mood, but never dull. "Back in the Fire" shows he has lost none of his lyrical edge, and the brilliantly titled "There's no Drinking after you're Dead" will surely have all fans of The Jam dusting off their old Union Jack Blazers. With each play Heliocentric gets better and reveals more depth with each listen. Special nods must go to the Ocean Colour Scene boys for their contributions and the ever reliable Steve White on drums. As for the "Modfather" himself this album shows him moving away from his traditional R"n"B tinged rock to more acoustic guitar or piano driven songs, which suggests Weller is perhaps writing the music he wants to make rather than what he thinks he should be making. As for those who thinks his fire has really gone out should perhaps catch him on tour in the next few months.
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on 21 May 2000
Yet again Mr Weller has shown that he can 'move-on'and produce another excellent album. It took me a good couple of times to appreciate the album for what it is. Really quite mellow, I love it! He just seems to keep on writing excellent songs. He is way ahead of his audience and it is us die hard fans whose ears need to keep up with his ever-changing moods!
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on 26 May 2010
Despite having loved The Jam as a teenager, and admired (loved may be too strong a word) The Style Council as a twenty something finding my way in the world, I'm not really sure why I chose to simply ignore the majority of Paul Weller's solo career (certainly his output following the `Britpop Years' and his 1998 greatest hits anyway) until now. Perhaps it makes sense that now I bear at least some of the characteristics of what the cynical media might term a `typical Weller fan' (a 45 year old Dad who wears inexpensive Lambretta and Ben Sherman clothing to go and do the Tesco shop on a Saturday morning and could, if pushed, recite most of the script of `Quadrophenia' from memory) I should now start catching up with his 21st Century output too.

And so to `Heliocentric' his fifth solo studio album, originally released in 2000. Of all the Weller albums I have been listening to whilst playing catch up over the past few months, Heliocentric has been the most surprising in that (despite many negative reviews I have read, both recent and from the time of its release) it has completely knocked me for six and is, in a word, superb.

Perhaps ten years ago (with `Britpop' as we knew it in the 1990s pretty much dead and buried) this album may have sounded a bit old hat, I don't know, I didn't hear it then, so I can only really go on my reaction to it now, at the start of the summer 2010 and I absolutely love it.

Heliocentric certainly demands a few plays, all the way through and all in one go, before it really starts to weave its magic on the listener. Often slated by detractors as being similarly paced and `plodding' this could not be further from the truth; every song on the album is unique, carefully constructed and beautifully performed.

Other reviewers have said that the songs get better and better as the album progresses; this is also a view I share, although I personally do not think there is one even vaguely weak track amongst them all. If you want what could be classed as `typical' Weller then the opener; `He's The Keeper' will not disappoint. It's a slow paced rock song very much in the late Small Faces style delivered with emotion and punch. It is also a tribute to former Small Face and latter day Face Ronnie Lane. `Frightened' is a Lennon styled ballad with an excellent, vulnerable lyric, which is followed by Weller's often maligned ode to his daughter; `Sweet Pea' which is cute and harmless, bringing to mind Don Partridge's 1968 one-man-band anthem `Rosie'. Next up is `A Whale's Tale' a raucous and oddball sing a long dealing with (I think) themes of victimisation. All in all a great start, but things really kick into gear with `Back In The Fire' a stirring and slightly sinister trip hop in which Weller rants (in his much loved Woking accent, not the American singing voice he has adopted more in recent years) about being `handcuffed to some wanker' with genuine bile as of old

The sublime string arrangements are one of this albums secret weapons, perhaps none more so than on the huge ballad `Dust And Rocks' - I agree with the other chap (another 5 star Amazon reviewer) about how wonderful the outro is too. Then comes the incredible `There Is No Drinking After You're Dead' - musically much faster paced, but with a slow drawling vocal very reminiscent of Cream at their most psychedelic. Razor sharp and bristling with energy - it even manages to go a bit exotic with an eastern themed string break in the middle. `With Time And Temperance' is another reflection on Weller's (then) recent marriage breakdown. Another superb melody that leads to a haunting and trippy outro. I don't know why, but this song (to me at least) sounds a great deal like some long lost Jam single from mid 1981 which can only be a good thing. OK so we are getting on to the end of the album now with `Picking Up Sticks' - a truly incredible piece of funky West Coast psychedelia with a ridiculously catchy keyboard riff throughout and a short `drum solo' during the instrumental work out at the end. I love drum solos anyway so I'm happy (Perhaps Weller could recruit Ginger Baker for a future tour, then allow him a full on 15 minute `Toad' solo whilst he nips off to change his mohair suit!) So that just leaves the closing ballad `Love-Less' which is very soulful (in a kind of `What's Going On' way) and builds to such a gorgeous `goose bumps' crescendo of an ending that leaves you with an exhilarated `how the hell do I follow that?' feeling.

You follow it by simply starting it all again from the beginning as I have been doing, pausing only to eat, work and sleep, for about four weeks now.

I kid you not; this album is incredible and without doubt one of the best of Weller's entire career. Buy it now with the warm Summer months ahead - it's a perfect soundtrack to sunny days and warm balmy evenings. Alternatively, buy it in the middle of Winter and its sunny vibe will save you a packet on heating bills. Brilliant stuff.
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Like many others who, on their first listen to this album, thought "Hmmmm... I'm not sure", this album takes a bit of listening to until the quality and class become evident. Once past this initial obstacle, the tracks grow and grow until the album is unrecognisable from when you first listened. I cannot stress enough, you really do have to give it time, but you will be well rewarded ! I am ( and always will be ) a die-hard Weller fan, right from the early days with Bruce and Rick where he was head strong and not afraid to voice his opinions, right through to his current work which just oozes class and sophistication, but I would not hesitate in recommending this album to anyone who knows good music when they hear it. Long live the Modfather and may he continue to make our lives more bearable !
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on 6 June 2002
I have to say that this album is criminally underrated. I have listened to all of Paul's albums through the many different guises he has used, and this is up there with them.
OK, so there are a couple of pretty duff tracks, Sweet Pea and Whales Tale definitely fall into that category, as does the opener, He's the Keeper, but these aside, the album is a winner. The last few tracks, from Time and Temperance onwards are superb, a collage of music with a full string orchestra and electric guitars fused together by Steve White's energetic drumming (never more apparent than on Picking Up Sticks). I would urge anyone in two minds to go for this album without hesitation. Weller has never undergone the kind of artistic crisis that Bob Dylan and Neil Young experienced in the 80s, or Paul McCartney in his 70s Wings days, and this album, along with the rest of his back catalogue confirms that.
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on 10 May 2000
At first a lot of the songs sounded very similar, but one thing that did stand out was the fact that, although similar on first impression, the whole CD seemed to crescendo from start to finish as though it were one long song with quiet interludes between the actual single songs. As you listen to it more the seperate songs appear individually and as the album progressed and the tunes crescendoed you were massaged to a very pleasing and relaxing finale. Good stuff.
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on 10 April 2000
just picked up the japanese version of this cd today, which contains 2 extra tracks. i have to say that it is not as good as wild wood or stanley road, but it is a great album, never the less. weller is a great song crafter! his songs are smooth, strong, and from the heart. i can not wait for his next tour of the states.
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