Paul Weller – Saturns Pattern

Reviewed by Andrew Scott

The Modfather returns with his 12th solo album Saturns Pattern. Weller can be considered amongst rock’s great re-inventors, dabbling in genres such as Punk rock, Soul, Folk and even a little bit of Acid Jazz. Befitting someone who isn’t afraid to try new things, Saturns Pattern finds Weller experimenting with different songwriting styles and new sounds.

The opening track, ‘White Sky’, starts with some sci-fi sounding reverse cymbal and bursts into a dirty, heavy blues riff with booming drums and fuzzy guitars. The song contains little snippets of random sounds and demonstrates the experimentation which is scattered throughout the album. Title track ‘Saturns Pattern’ mixes angular piano lines and Style Council vocals. Again little flushes of distorted harmonica and organ show Weller isn’t afraid to mix things up. ‘Going My Way’ contains a beautiful piano intro and some Beach Boy’s style backing vocals. When I first played ‘Long Time’ I thought Noel Gallagher has somehow sneaked an Oasis track on the record. This is one of the few times Weller’s experimentation doesn’t really pay off. On ‘Pick it up’ has a smooth funk/soul beat and illustrates the Modfather still has pretty decent soul chops. Not content with mixing things up instrumentally, on the next two tracks ‘I’m Where I’m Should Be’ and ‘Phoenix’, Weller even sounds like other vocalists, namely David Bowie and Damon Albarn respectively.  ‘In My Car’ is an interesting blues number. It starts with acoustic guitar and haunting piano melodies, then metamorphosizes into a blues stomper, complete with slide guitar. The sultry, summery sounds of closing track are reminiscent of an early 1970’s song by Marvin Gaye or The Isley Brothers.

This record actually grew on me the more I listened to it. On first inspection, the many changes of style and little bits of experimentation can be hard to take in. However, repeated listened reveals a pretty decent set of songs. The experimentation is admirable but it feels like this album could have been better if Weller had focused his sounds more.

Rating: 4/5

Recommended Song: White Sky

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