Review: Jack Foley
HAVING scored a massive success with his acclaimed covers album,
Studio 150, last year, the tireless Paul Weller returns
with an all-new album featuring 14 songs that recapture the Modfather
at his very best form.
As Is Now finds Weller reuniting with the production
team responsible for the stripped-back sound of Studio 150
– Jan ‘Stan’ Kybert and Joeri Wisseloord
- and the result looks likely to win the team even more plaudits
From the urgent, up-tempo rock style of past singles Come
On/Let's Go and From The Floorboards Up (his biggest
hit in ages), to the tender yearning and reflection of album closers,
The Pebble and The Boy and Fly Little Bird,
the album rarely puts a foot wrong, mixing all kinds of styles
that ought to continue to broaden the artist's ever-growing appeal.
Throughout, there are nods to his past, from the early, angry
days of The Jam, through to past solo work on albums such as Stanley
Road and Wildwood, but there remains an unbridled
energy of an artist who likes to keep looking forward as well.
Come On/Let's Go is a classic case in point, an unapologetically
upbeat single that contains a brash style that will have you yelling
'sing you little fuckers, sing like you have no coice' along with
It's in contrast to the rhythm and blues style of Paper Smile,
or the beautiful acoustic melodies of The Start of Forever
(one of several highlights).
The real joy in listening to As Is Now unfold, however,
lies in its ability to consistently shift gears, so that even
when you hit an 'ordinary' track (like Here's The Good News)
it is more often than not followed by a belter.
Steve Craddock's guitars are as crisp as ever, while Damon Minchella's
bass is consistently employed to telling effect on several tracks,
thereby serving to broaden the enjoyment of the overall effect.
My personal favourites include All On A Misty Morning,
with its rolling, Mariachi-style acoustic guitar riffs and romantic
sensibilities; the shuffling, apologetic style of I Wanna
Make It Alright (with its tinkling stabs of piano and carefree
melodies), and the funky, almost jazzy strains of Bring Back
The Funk (Pts 1 and 2), all of which encapsulate the diversity
This is an excellent album that's sure to delight the Weller
purists at the same time as reaching out to many more besides.
1. Blink And You'll Miss It
2. Paper Smile
3. Come On / Let's Go
4. Here's The Good News
5. The Start Of Forever
7. All On A Misty Morning
8. From The Floorboards Up
9. I Wanna Make It Alright
11. Fly Little Bird
12. Roll Along Summer
13. Bring Back The Funk (Pt 1 & 2)
14. The Pebble And The Boy