Whilst the last couple of solo albums have not been bad per se, there has been a sense of creative ennui on the part of the Modfather, since the release of 2002’s Illumination, in fact.
Whereas, Wake Up the Nation (2010) and Sonik Kicks (2012) found Weller experimenting with unfamiliar styles and genres (Krautrock? Seriously??) with mixed results, Weller seems to have fine-tuned his ‘new’ direction with Saturns Pattern, his 12th solo LP (Trivia – Weller has as many solo LPs as that released by his previous bands The Jam and The Style Council combined!).
Opening track “White Sky” leads the way with its fat Small Faces-channeling blues-rock. But before one can wonder if Weller has gone all retro on us, the production work by Garry Cobain & Bryan Dougans (Amorphous Androgynous) gives the track an edgy, post-modern vibe that informs the rest of the album.
This is Paul Weller – the same songwriter who gave us “Start!”, “Speak Like A Child” & “Sunflower” – updated for 2015, but not by that much. The result is invigorating and exciting as songs like the pop-centric piano-led “Going My Way”, the Stooges-inflected “Long Time”, the catchy “Pick It Up” and the blue-eyed soul of “Pheonix” reveal a singer-songwriter almost scaling upwards to his previous giddy heights.
So much to savour, so much to enjoy, for diehards this is virtually the holy grail as Weller reminds everyone why he is a British rock legend!