Paul Weller’s resurgent solo career continues to go from strength to strength with his new album, the impressive Sonik Kicks, which has reached number one in the charts this week. Coming strongly off the back of the successful Wake Up The Nation, the album strays away from the safe waters he knows with a heavy emphasis on a psychedelic style.
The opening track Green immediately throws you into a whirlwind of echoing vocals with Weller ensuring a frantic pace from the outset of the record. His voice sounds as good as it ever has and his ability to produce unique melodies stands out through the album. The guitar based tracks are distinctly homed towards a trippy yet mellowing resonance and Kling I Klang is a catchy song returning to Weller’s Jam roots with an upbeat tempo and witty lyrics.
From here the album continues on its frenzied journey, stopping to slow the tempo with a number of softer songs. Sleep on Serene is made up of purely melody but has a beautiful sound which has an altogether relaxing and satisfying effect. A sense of being lost in time is achieved with a range of interesting synthesisers and distortions which side towards the very psychedelic representation Weller wants to address. It’s perhaps a style not typically associated with Weller but he succeeds with the sound brilliantly. Nevertheless his forte for acoustic numbers still shrines through, and the calmer tracks are the highlights of the album. By the Waters is a harrowing song, with a saddened tone which perfectly suits Weller’s aching voice (the song is reminiscent of his classics such as English Rose and You Do Something to Me), although his willingness to try and incorporate his voice into a more interesting genre is well worth a listen for.
The first single of the album, That Dangerous Age is an addictive track with a number of Weller like lyrics which hint at a homage to his own age and lifestyle with a good sense of humour. The whole album almost feels like one long eventful trip not too dissimilar to the albums produced by the likes of Cream and Pink Floyd, whose influence seems apparent at times.
The album swerves in many different directions with ease, with an obvious psychedelic influence which in turn makes the album one of easy listening with some particularly powerful and indulgent songs. Study In Blue and Be Happy Children, which include his daughter as a female backing singer work well, as she complements Weller’s more rough ragged voice, and both are worthy inclusions. No doubt the Modfather will be geared up and ready to tour this notable album with the energy and commitment which has seen him revive his career in the last few years.