Most artists 38 years into their career have long slipped into something more comfortable — classic album tours. Not Paul Weller, since 2008’s 22 Dreams he’s shown he doesn’t know what laurels are, never mind how to rest on them.
Weller’s abandoned his traditional songwriting style in favor of grooves, beats, and riffs, and his lyrics are not the poetry of yesteryear. But even he admits, he was getting bored of his own records.
Off of Paul Weller's latest, Saturns Pattern
Heading off with “White Sky,” the Mod God finds himself at a crossroads with heavy rock. He maps out a Led Zeppelin style riff to a bombastic drum beat. Distorted vocals and a whole lotta blues set us in the right direction.
“Long Time” is a search and rejuvenate mission to C.B.G.B. — “For such a long time, my feet didn’t fit my shoes,” Weller retreads to his punk roots. Stooges tripping over nuggets in the garage, and it’s Iggy Pop-tastic.
With “Pick Up the Pieces,” Weller’s inner-city soul brother comes to the fore — a spiritual intro and outro, church organ and sci-fi backdrop — it’s mod funk.
“I’m Where I Should Be” hears a mature man far traveled from the angry young one of the Jam, while “These City Streets” is eight minutes of psych-soul balladeering.
Guest musicians are intergenerational — his Jam cofounder of Steve Brookes and guitarist from up-and-comers the Strypes, showing Weller can hear echoes from the past and the future and shape them into now.
Weller’s on a trip of sonic orbits, lost in space, lost in music. Ladies and gentlemen, the Modfather is floating in space.
Paul Weller plays the Observatory North Park on October 6.
- Record: Saturns Pattern
- Artist: Paul Weller
- Label: Warner Bros.
- Songs: (1) White Sky (2) Saturns Pattern (3) Going My Way (4) Long Time (5) Pick It Up (6) I’m Where I Should Be (7) Phoenix (8) In the Car (9) These City Streets