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Paul Weller - As Is Now


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 than before.

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.

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 on show.

This is an excellent album that's sure to delight the Weller purists at the same time as reaching out to many more besides.

 

Track listing:
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
6. Pan
7. All On A Misty Morning
8. From The Floorboards Up
9. I Wanna Make It Alright
10. Savages
11. Fly Little Bird
12. Roll Along Summer
13. Bring Back The Funk (Pt 1 & 2)
14. The Pebble And The Boy

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