Paul Weller is an English singer-songwriter and musician, who first achieved fame as part of the band, The Jam between 1972 and 1982. It was then until 1989 that he was part of the blue-eyed soul group, The Style Council, before establishing himself as a solo artist in 1991. Since 1992, the artist has released a whole string of albums, with 2020’s latest record, On Sunset, being his fifteenth studio album. Here’s what we have to say about it…
Paul Weller has a career spanning more than four-and-a-half decades and it can only be admired just how active and contemporary he still remains at 62 years old.
Right from the opening moments of ‘Mirror Ball’; a seven-and-a-half minute epic that starts out with ethereal synths before breaking into a vast soundscape of overdriven guitars and juddering synths married with melodic pop elements, some distorted vocals and even some crowd applause thrown in; it’s clear that this is going to be an exciting record.
This rather avante-garde opener is quickly followed by ‘Baptiste’ – a rather safe, summery, soulful number that has become a familiar sound for the songwriter.
However the experimentalism of this record is once again demonstrated on tracks like ‘More’ – an extended, progressive soulful track that features female French vocals; the almost psychedelic title track, ‘On Sunset’; or on the very synth-driven and rather trippy ‘Earth Beat’, that seems to ever build, beautifully.
This is something of a captivating collection of contemporary songs.
It’s clear that there is a whole load of inspiration on this record – from rock to soul and folk to funk – this is something of a captivating collection of contemporary songs. Weller‘s vocals are sublime too – he has both smoothness and raspiness in all the right places.
There’s definitely a sense of reflection and revisiting sounds too – ‘Village’ is a beautiful number that soars and leaves a sense of nostalgia on the listener, whilst tracks like ‘Rockets’ and ‘Equanimity’ have a strong sense of early David Bowie and The Kinks (respectively), emanating a certain relaxed, contemporary appeal too.
‘Old Father Tyme’ can’t go unmentioned either – its fading in and out of a drum machine with funky guitars, brass notes and echoing vocals make it one of the focal points of the album.
The songs are so well-written and focus on central themes of contentment and growing into oneself. You would have a hard time debating that this album doesn’t work as collective body, despite all the fluctuating influences and whilst it feels like there could be more experimental sounds to come from him, Paul Weller should be proud of his fifteenth release.
‘On Sunset’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/on-sunset-deluxe/1503362089
On Sunset on Spotify
Earth Beat (Lyric Video)
Village (Lyric Video)
More (Lyric Video)
We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this singer-songwriter’s fifteenth studio album? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.