Friday, 16 April 2010

Paul Weller - Wake Up The Nation




Released 19/04/09, Island Records

Still resplendent in his old(er) age and releasing albums for fun, the God of Mod in once again back to flex his muscles with arguably his best solo long player to date.

After the success of 2008’s 22 Dreams earned him Best Solo Artist at last year’s BRITs, it’s a testament to the importance of the Modfather  that he still coughs up material that possesses the grit and passion that has been with him throughout his long and illustrious career.

Wake Up The Nation calls on all of the sensibilities that have followed Weller throughout his calling and flashes of The Jam, The Style Council and his earlier solo work shine through a record that rocks to the rhythms of his earlier mod days while the ever apparent Northern Soul influences remain firmly on the 51 year-olds sleeve.

The title track stomp of ‘Wake Up The Nation’ sets the mood as Weller rants about the nation’s state of affairs and the desensitisation of the country (“get off your Facebook and turn off your phone,”) over some shit hot brass after the somewhat ballsy start of ‘Moonshine’, while the welcome return of Bruce Foxton is ever apparent in the bounce of ‘Fast Car/Slow Traffic’.

There’s more innovation here than in the likes of ‘Illumination’ and ‘Heliocentric’ and the more diluted moments seem fewer and farther between though, they do occur in the pub rock splutter of ‘Grasp & Still Connect’ which doesn’t sit well next to the epic pastiche of punk, boogie and soulful balladry in ‘Trees’.

The tracks are short and sharp and before you realise it, ‘Two Fat Ladies’ is wrapping up a well executed album with a fresh rock n roll irreverence, doused in the cheek and charm that distinguishes Weller as the father of a generation.



8/10

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