Release Date: Oct 11, 2005
Record label: Yep Roc
Genre(s): Rock, Singer-Songwriter
If 2002's Illumination was a warm, laid-back record, Paul Weller's 2005 sequel, As Is Now -- a likeable but unremarkable covers album, Studio 150, appeared in the interim -- is its flip side, a lean, hard-hitting soulful rock & roll album. Not that Weller is returning to the sound of the Jam: he's still with the same band that he's been with since Wild Wood, anchored by drummer Steve White and featuring Ocean Colour Scene members guitarist Steve Cradock and bassist Damon Minghella, and he's working the same musical territory, grounded in Traffic, Humble Pie, '60s soul, and guitar pop. There may be absolutely no surprises here -- even the change of pace "The Start of Forever" is reminiscent of many of his gentler folky tunes, echoing Illumination's mellow vibe -- but for as familiar as As Is Now is, it never sounds lazy; it's a tighter, better record than most of his late-'90s albums.