Paul Weller - Sonik Kicks

by Nathan Fidler Rating:6 Release Date:2012-03-19

What should someone like Paul Weller do when he reaches such a grand old age? Since As is Now in 2005, the Modfather has been getting progressively more experimental. Here on Sonik Kicks, there are countless efforts to seem cool and edgey. It tries to emulate something like Gorillaz but lacks the urban edge. The best thing about Paul Weller is his bite and attack which has become lost in his latest trilogy of albums.

Opener 'Green' has Mr Weller chanting in echo about temples and the colour green and while 'The Attic' and 'That Dangerous Age' try to add a little buzz to proceedings, the latter fails to pinpoint what exactly the dangerous age is or whether it's a good or bad thing - despite being resplendent with shoo-whoop's. In fact, lyrically, this album seems his weakest yet. Only 'By the Waters' has any genuine warmth as Weller ushers us to "Come by the water, sit and rest". 'Around the Lake' perks the second half of the album up and offers hope that good old Paul Weller does still have it in him after all.

'Paper Chase' soon undoes that good work, a plodding ode to... the stationary retailer? Who truly knows what is going on in Paul's mind now. You can't exactly nail down any of these songs to a cause or story in the way you could before. 'Study in Blue' sounds like the kind of title an art student would give to a 'performance piece' while dressed a blue full-body leotard. The sound of the actual track is once again a hint that Paul Weller might have taken notice of Damon Albarn's work in Gorillaz.

Attached names Noel Gallagher and Graham Coxon will get Britpop fans foaming at the mouth, but they won't find any solace on this album. Really, Paul Weller can rely heavily on touring his back-catalogue endlessly, but the question is how long his hardcore fans will stand by him as he gets 'experimental' and electronically messy?

'Be Happy Children' closes the album and points to an answer for these odd songs: he has a new family. His father passed a few years back and possibly Paul is finding his feet in a new age. Besides, did he not once warn us that he is a changing man? Perhaps, however, that's not always for the best. What was once a brilliant blend of the old with new on As is Now has become fairly one-sided. This is an album packed with hit-and-miss tracks which will divide Weller fans right down the middle.

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