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Graham Clark
Features Writer
10:01 AM 6th July 2020

Paul Weller - On Sunset (Polydor)

From his early days with The Jam through to the English soul of the Style Council and latterly his solo work, Paul Weller has not stood still. He has changed styles of music throughout his career that his fans might not have always been expecting or liked.

Now back on Polydor, his original record label, Weller releases his 15th solo album, On Sunset. Aged 62 years old the album in some ways seems Weller looking back, on the track Old Father Thyme he sings "Time Will Become You, you will become time" on a song that sees to be seemingly about mortality.

A gentle ballad, Village follows with the theme being happy in the now and not needing all the things you thought you wanted which in a way many might relate to with the recent Lockdown. How many things have you really missed that you thought you might miss in the Lockdown? Like most of the tracks on the album the music tends to be more laid back than the energy and fire of The Jam. But that was Weller then and not in 2020.

Mirrorball takes the listener back to those days spent dancing under the light strobes, whether it be at the local Mecca or northern soul club. The track has a psychedelic interlude that goes back to The Beatles before the track resumes. Weller's voice throughout the album seems to have a richer tone I find.

The title track On Sunset sees the modfather finding his soulful roots on a song that has lush orchestra strings that add a delicate touch. It's like hearing him in a new dimension, the track ends with the sound of waves lapping up onto the shore leaving the listener to imagine the sun setting over the sea.

Ploughman sees the Kinks/Small Faces influences come through on a track that would suit Ocean Colour Scene, a jaunty ditty that will be a highlight on his tour that has now been delayed until next spring.

The album ends with a track that could be a David Bowie song, Rockets has the same melancholy in Weller's voice that Bowie did on say Life On Mars. Again the orchestra strings give the track a moving sound.

As ever the pure craftsman, his fans from back at the beginning of his career might not be still along for the ride but the ones who have stuck with Weller throughout will be glad that they have stayed on board.

I rate the album 4 out of 5