Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

Renowned For Sound

For the latest music reviews and interviews

Album Review: Paul Weller – 66

3 min read
"Paul Weller just keeps producing quality, and 66 is no different" - our review of 66, the new LP from Paul Weller

The Modfather returns!!!  Paul Weller (true story: he lives (in one of his many houses) around the corner from me) releases his seventeenth (!!) solo studio album and his TWENTY-EIGHTH when you include studio albums released from The Jam and The Style Council, of which he was lead singer/key contributor (information specifically for American readers… my girlfriend hasn’t got a clue who he is).  There is little cryptic meaning behind the title, 66 – plainly it refers Weller’s age on the day after album release (through Polydor Records and Solid Bond), with the album cover created by legendary artist Peter Blake.  66 is three years in the making, is a reflective and inward thinking album (no doubt influenced by lockdown) and has a slew of famous co-writers, including such legends as Noel Gallagher, Bobby Gillespie and Suggs.

Ship of Fools kicks off proceedings with a touch of the Small Faces Itchykoo Park about it. A simple but pleasant way to start, followed by disco pop Flying Fish which wouldn’t be out of place on an Erasure album, while Jumble Queen which has a real 70s rock, T-Rex feel to it, and Nothing (the most recent single release) takes a slower turn, with a jazz/soul feel to it and almost a feeling that this is what a mature Style Council track would feel like.  Next up, we waltz into My Best Friend’s Coat, before second single release Rise Up Singing is a deeply moving track, reminding me of a modern, mature twist on Style Council classic Long Hot Summer.

Onto the second half of 66 we are welcomed by the beautifully uncomplicated I Woke Up, where the arrangement of acoustic guitar, backed by a sumptuous orchestral strings arrangement and drums which only appear to enhance the impact of the strings – marvellous!!!  A Glimpse of You up next, which sounds like some of Bowie’s 80’s catalogue (huge compliment from me BTW), whilst the rawness and guitar plucking style weaves through Sleepy Hollow, and In Full Flight has a melancholy yet quiet optimism feel to it… with a lovely ‘wah-wah’ guitar solo.  Penultimate track, and lead single, Soul Wandering is a classic mid-tempo rocker, replete with horns, organs and gospel backing singers – with the chorus tempo giving me thoughts of a stripped back Led Zeppelin Whole Lotta Love in the way the guitars gallop.  Finally, we have Burn Out to close out 66 – a down tempo beauty, with a real 70’s psychedelic feel to it.

Paul Weller just keeps producing quality, and 66 is no different.  Sure, there will be naysayers… Weller is known for continual reinvention over the years, and 66 is less of a reinvention and more of a revision of some of his previous reinventions.  However, this is a comforting Paul Weller blanket of songs, and fans will lap this up like a thirsty dog at a bowl of water – it seems where Paul Weller’s ability to produce quality new music is concerned, age really is just a number.