7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Partially successful attempt to recreate The Jam's energy?,
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This review is from: Wake Up The Nation (Audio CD)
I read a review of this record which summed it up as "Stockhausen meets The Small Faces". Personally I think "Chas 'n' Dave meets Neu!" is a better comparison. "Wake Up The Nation" has a thrown-together, improvised sound which, miraculously, avoids sounding self-indulgent BUT lacks cohesiveness.
So what do we got?
"No Tears to Cry" sounds like "River Deep Mountain High". One of the more straightforwardly enjoyable tracks on the album.
Bruce Foxton collaborates on a song about traffic (ill-advised given BF's track record with that subject-matter?) The end result sounds a bit like Blur. Bruce is also on "She Speaks" with, perhaps surreally, Kevin Shields (taking time out from, allegedly, writing the sleevenotes to the MBV remasters, eh Kev?) This is my favourite of the more experimental-sounding tracks.
The excellent "Find the Torch, Burn the Plans" and "Aim High" (the latter gets a touch funky on us, a touch Bobby Womack) conclude a strong mid-section.
Thereafter a bit patchy, the highlights: "Amsterdam" is a Style Council-esque instrumental, not bad - though wouldn't have made it on to "Our Favourite Shop". "Whatever Next" - another quality instrumental without making a big deal - the type of thing Weller and only a few others (Aphex Twin?) seem to be able to do in their sleep.
Interesting, brave, throw-away (intentionally so), a bit mad and even entertaining in places. But overall I think this might have fared better as a mini-album. I don't think Paul Weller could make a bad album if he tried, although newcomers - or those looking to revisit his works - would be better advised to look elsewhere first.