March 30, 2012 (New York, NY) — Paul Weller has been getting lots of good, but not great, reviews for his latest album, “Sonik Kicks”. At least Stateside. Ignore them. “Sonik Kicks”, out this week here in the US, is superb, with Weller dragging his muse once again in a new direction, this time into electronic and avante garde territory. Just last week it topped the album charts in the UK.
The outlier by a long stretch from punk’s Class of ’77, Weller is a near-deity in the UK and is still making consistently superb, challenging music more than 30 years since his band The Jam first caught the record-buying public’s imagination. “Sonik Kicks” is about as far from The Jam’s 1977 debut “In The City” as you might imagine (though there’s a clearer lineage to the band’s “Sound Affects”). Back then Weller — never part of the gobbing punk proletariate — probably would have spat in David Bowie’s general direction. Now he embraces The Thin White Duke’s influence, and is mining many of the same veins Bowie navigated during his late-70’s Berlin period, albeit with a more traditional classic pop song structure as the basis. A little Syd Barrett here. A little Neu! there. Voila! Paul Weller, vintage 2012.
While “Sonic Kicks” isn’t as good as 2008’s “22 Dreams” or 2010’s “Wake Up The Nation”, it is perhaps more adventurous than either work, and it is surely still the work of a craftsman in the midst of yet another artistic rebirth, challenging both himself and his audience. With some of the songs Weller has taken perfect rock tunes and mixed them up and shaken them a few times, turning them into something altogether unique and sometimes strange. In others he’s taken half-formed ideas and developed them via the wonders of studio technology into beautiful, quirky meditations.
Weller will bring his “Sonik Kicks” tour to New York City’s Best Buy Theater on May 18th and 19th, opening the set with a top to tails rendition of the album, followed by gems (both hits and deep cuts) from his long career. If you haven’t caught The Modfather in a while, these shows are not to be missed if the reviews from his current residency at London’s Roundhouse are anything to go by. And if you’ve seen one of Weller’s recent shows here, you’ll know these shows will be the place to be come May.
In the meantime, pick up “Sonik Kicks”, turn it up and scare the neighbors a bit.
This article is copyright 2012 by Jeff Slate. No part may be reprinted or referenced without permission and/or attribution. All rights reserved.