Forty years on from his first release, Paul Weller returns with his thirteenth studio album, A Kind Revolution. The album was recorded at Black Barn Studios in Surrey, UK with Jan ‘Stan’ Kybert and Weller working together to produce the album.
As I listened to each track on the album one burning question I had was ‘What keeps this album cohesive?’ I know that there is a common thread that makes it work with all the variety in sound and style that Paul Weller provides, but it is difficult to put into words. Yes, there are commonalities in instrumentation and song structure and other more technical aspects, but Paul Weller possesses a sublime talent in the way he can pick out elements of distant musical styles and fuse them so naturally. This is apparent from the first track of the album, Woo Sé Mama, which has a soul and blues feel about it, mixed in with British invasion rock elements. She Moves With The Fayre swiftly moves between a syncopated funk groove into a straight time pop ballad feel.
It is interesting how ambient sound affects are included as part of the sound scape as in the flickering sound of an old film projector at the start of Hopper; it captures a sense of nostalgia. In New York he sets the scene of the busy city including a sound shot of the clambering of people and vehicles around the city. The sound of One Tear takes another shift beginning with a cascading arpeggiated piano display and moving into a mesmerizing pulse including world music elements. Satellite Kid gives you a satisfying serving of deep fried southern blues and grit.
Contrary to the suggestion that the title A Kind Revolution conjures, the album itself is not politically strong, but the idea of a kind revolution seems to be what the world needs right now.