It's always great to hear that a new Paul Weller album is being released and his latest 'Sonik Kicks', progresses to an incredible musical height from his 35 years of song writing and recording his own brand of modernist music. The album feels like it's culminated from his entire solo musical output, yet sounds very current and relevant to the music world in general. There are generous nods to electronic synths, funky beats, classy rock guitar riffage, dub reggae, 60s inspired mod garage psych, and northern soul all with Weller's distinct British vocal styling. Guest musicians on the album include Noel Gallagher and Graham Coxon.
"Green" starts off with some tremolo electronics accentuated with phased up guitar leads and driving beats with Weller singing sparingly. "The Attic" springs into a two minute rave up with strings & guitar hooks. "Kling I Klang" picks up another notch in rocking intensity and could easily have been an obscure Jam single with it's punk back beat. The album starts to mix songs together at this point with an instrumental string section meets guitar delays and feedback in "Sleep Of The Serene". "By The Waters" slows things down to an intimate level and introduces Weller on acoustic guitar with a tasteful orchestra backing his signature voice.
"That Dangerous Age" lifts the album back up into freakbeat with echoes of Small Faces style backing vocals and Weller belting out some tasteful soul vocals. "Study In Blue" opens with a harmonica, piano, strings and glides into a revved up version of dub reggae with hammond organ embellishments and wide delays with his wife matching his melodic vocals that invokes a jazzy, space-age lounge style of singing. "Dragonfly" starts with a driving rhythm section and continues to push ahead while interspersed with guitar pitch shifts. "When Your Garden's Overgrown" is a mid tempo funky groover with plenty of tremolo guitar and a large vocal chorus.
"Around The Lake" wraps back around into an up tempo 60s inspired mod spy theme with farfisa keyboards, while "Drifters" blasts into a 6/8 time signature of rocking Spanish guitar riffs and East Indian psych inspired vocal melodies. "Paper Chase" chugs along with one chord rhythm drones of guitars and synths mixed with East Indian inspired strings. "Be Happy Children" ends the album with Weller's version of Motown soul with an angelic string section, synths, piano, and his wife's backing vocals appearing again along side his David Ruffin-like vocal approach.
'Sonik Kicks' is an epic sounding album and after repeat listens, I find myself favoring different songs each time. Paul Weller appeared on last month's cover issue of MOJO Magazine which includes an interview and a CD compilation of various artists hand picked by Weller himself. Since the debut of this album last Week, 'Sonik Kicks' has reached #1 in the UK charts. I already know it's reached #1 in my list of top albums of 2012 and it's going to be hard to knock this one off the top.
Here's the video for "That Dangerous Age":
- Mike C.