Album of the week review: Saturns Pattern by Paul Weller
Nearly 40 years into an outstanding career, His Royal Modness Paul Weller is treated with such reverence he could release a double album of himself farting in the bath and his fans would lap it up. Yet the British icon has always refused to rest on his laurels, producing arguably some of his most creative music during the past decade.
On Saturns Pattern, his 12th solo album since the split of The Style Council in 1989, the dapper silver-maned modfather continues to push adventurously onwards from 2012's Sonik Kicks. Recorded in his own Black Barn studio and describing it as "one of the best things I have done", the former Jam frontman kicks things off with the belting single White Sky, an electrifying blast of gritty blues that would knock The Black Keys off their porch swing. It may have a vintage feel to it, but true to his claims that "it's defiantly 21st-century music", Weller sounds invigorated and as vital as ever.
On first listen, Saturns Pattern is a jumbled bag of styles, from the Bowie-esque groove of Going My Way and Pick it Up to the driving Long Time, with its swells of celestial keyboards and hand claps, but there's a strong heart and a heavy soul (especially on the stand-out I'm Where I Should Be) running through the eclectic mix.
More impressively, the songwriting on the album is rife with a spirit of playfulness that helps to bind the tracks together, with Weller and his pals willing and confident to explore the experimental, hippyish avenues that the younger mod may unconsciously shy away from.
Saturns Pattern Paul Weller (Solid Bond Productions Ltd)