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Customer Review

VINE VOICEon September 27, 2008
Or when The Jam took off and really started fulfilling the potential they had shown with a string of singles and intermittently on their previous albums In The City And This Is The Modern World. All Mod Cons see's Paul Weller embracing a more English stance to his song-writing , with undercurrents of 1960,s pop like The Kinks - so much so they even cover the Kinks song "David Watts". The albums title also alludes playfully to the bands prevalence in the Mod revival.
The songs on All Mod Cons are often about ordinary people , or places but viewed through Weller's coruscating filter . He scorns the 9-5 existence of "Mr Clean" ( "If I get the chance ill f**k up your life") while seemingly revelling in the indestructible qualities of "Billy Hunt" right down to it's terrace chant chorus. "In The Crowd" is a glistening pop tinged number about the numbing anonymity of being errr part of a crowd. "The Place I Love" manages the neat trick of being urgent and wistful at the same time while "To be Someone ( Didn't We Have a Nice Time)" neatly encapsulates the celebrity grasping culture we have saddled ourselves with . The original vinyl edition ( which i still have) ended with the prescient twins "A Bomb In Wardour Street" powered by a chugging riff and the first person narrative of "Down In The Tube At Midnight " replete with Bruce Foxton,s expressive bass lines and Weller's vivid imagery. "They smelt of pubs , and Wormwood Scrubs and too many right wing meetings".Both these songs are probably more topical now than they were then .A bomb is taking it a bit far maybe but then you cast your mind back to the horrendous London bombings ...
By way of contrast there is the lovely acoustic ballad "English Rose" ( which portents some of Weller's solo work) which was not acknowledged on the original vinyl pressing in any way as Weller found it too personnel. The soaring chords of "Fly" are added to Weller's rather strained falsetto after the incongruously jaunty break up song "It's Too Bad".
All Mod Cons eschewed the more strident punkish themes of the era for a more considered quintessentially English album. The Jams angry punk album followed with the brilliant 1979 album "Setting Sons" . So what if it is lyrically clumsy sometimes ( "And my only link is pots of Walls ice cream"....oh dear) and that it contains a cover version ( I rather like" David Watts" and rather identified with it's scabrous envy of someone more self assured, better looking and more successful with the opposite sex) All Mod Cons is not just a great album but a great Jam album and that makes it something else all together.
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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