Album Review: Paul Weller – On Sunset

On Sunset

Just as the summer is pretty much a write-off, ‘The Modfather’ Paul Weller delivers the sunshine with his 15th solo album ‘On Sunset’.

On Sunset’ had the release date pushed back by a month, this seems like a good decision now that the COVID lockdown is starting to ease, the album feels like a sunny hug after the gloomy madness of the last few months.

Paul Weller isn’t one to be pigeon-holed and each release is still as exciting as his first because even after fifteen albums you can’t guess what he is about to release.

‘On Sunset’ is an eclectic mix of soul, R&B, electro, ballads and pop… A mad combination when written down but if anybody can incorporate all of these styles together and make it flow naturally it is Mr Weller. The album as a whole sees Weller step back into The Style Council territory whilst keeping himself firmly in 2020.

‘On Sunset’ is a rollercoaster which catches you off guard on many occasions. Opening the album is ‘Mirrorball‘, amazingly this was supposed to be a b-side to a single on Paul Weller‘s last album ‘True Meanings’. The track starts with a tinkling of a piano before Weller’s distinctive vocals kick in, for the next few minutes you get comfortable and feel like you are listening to a typical Weller ballad… But make sure that you are strapped in tight because after three minutes this track is going to take you on quite a ride! ‘Mirrorball‘ takes a random electronic turn, going almost Aphex Twin! After some crazy tones, a cheering crowd and a round of applause we are back to the verse but with a bolder, prominent bass rumbling throughout.

Already released from ‘On Sunset’ are the shimmering singles ‘Earth Beat‘, ‘More‘, and ‘Village‘ which features former The Style Council partner Mick Talbot on keys and could have easily been a single released by the former duo back in their The Style Council era.

Weller excels when his soul influence roots shine through and ‘Baptiste‘, ‘Sunset‘ and ‘Old Father Tyme‘ are prime examples of this. ‘Old Father Tyme‘ has all the makings of a classic Weller single and will no doubt be around for a long time after Weller moves on to his next albums. The track is a reflection on his ageing, a thing that Paul Weller seems comfortable and content with at this moment because there are a lot of optimistic references on the album about finding and being yourself.

The biggest moment that you dont expect… Well, after the middle of ‘Mirrorball‘ is The Kinks-Esque ‘Equanimity‘, a track which features Jim Lea from Slade who plays the violin on the track.

‘On Sunset’ ends with a beautiful David Bowie influenced ballad titled ‘Rockets‘. The track is dreamy, charming and the perfect way to sign off the LP.

‘On Sunset’ is released 3rd July and is Paul Wellers first release through the record label Polydor since The Style Council.

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