Paul Weller's On Sunset: What You Need To Know
Ever since turning in a fifth and final album as the frontman and chief creative force of The Jam, Paul Weller has been on a musical journey that has taken in another five albums with blue-eyed soul outfit The Style Council and more than a dozen solo LPs, producing a kaleidoscopic array of styles and establishing himself as one of the British music scene's most beloved elder statesmen.
His fifteenth solo album was originally scheduled for June but, after a short delay caused by you-know-what, On Sunset makes its delayed arrival in stores today (July 3rd). Here's everything you need to know about the latest offering from the many they call 'The Modfather'...
A little background...
First announced back in February and originally scheduled to arrive in June, the release of On Sunset was, like just about everything else, placed temporarily on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic, but in the meantime he has released a handful of singles from the new LP, including 'Earth Beat' and 'The Village'.
Who's producing it?
On Sunset is the latest in a long string of Weller's albums to have been recorded at his own Black Barn Studios in Surrey, with longtime collaborator Jan Kybert once again handling production duties alongside the man himself.
Any special guests?
There are a couple of guest vocals from Col3trane, who appears on 'Earth Beat', and French singer Julie Gros, who delivers one of the verses on 'More', while former Style Council bandmate Mick Talbot adds keys to three of the album's tracks and longtime collaborator Steve Craddock also pops up to deliver his trademark guitar sound on several of the new songs.
What does it sound like?
With a back catalogue that incorporates so many different styles it's always difficult to know exactly which Paul Weller is going to show up on a new album, but if we had to put On Sunset in the same ballpark as some of his earlier work it's probably closer to the soulful pop of his work with The Style Council than anything else.
That's particularly true on 'Earth Beat' and others such as 'More', but there are also hints of Wild Wood's mellow acoustic grooves on songs like 'The Village' and where the album's predecessor True Meanings felt like a deep exploration of one style, On Sunset is more like a summing up of his work over the last couple of decades, incorporating all those different styles and influences into a whole which sounds familiar, but different.
Does it deliver?
It doesn't really need to be said anymore that Paul Weller is a great songwriter, that's a given at this point. But it's a testament to his skill and his enduring will to experiment that his music retains the capacity to produce pleasant surprises, and On Sunset has plenty of those. 15 albums in, he's still got it.
On Sunset is available in hmv stores and online now.