It could be argued that Paul Weller was experiencing one of his most prolific phases before Covid-19, but the global pandemic and subsequent lockdown certainly seems to have accelerated that purple patch. Last July, he released On Sunset, his fourth record in about five years, which became one of the most well-received albums of his career. Obviously, global circumstances dictated that album couldn’t be performed live, so Weller instead revisited some half-finished ideas he’d recorded on his phone.
His new record Fat Pop certainly isn't a bad record. Written and recorded over the first UK lockdown last year, it's a credit to the amazing ways artists adapted to the pandemic without losing their spark and it shows with a number of brilliant tracks such as the funky opener "Cosmic Fringes", the beautiful acoustic track "Cobweb Connections" and the cool classic rock inspired "Moving Canvas". However, Paul Weller 's spark has blown up all over the place.
On the press trail for last year's chart-topping On Sunset, Paul Weller was asked to explain what has prompted his now decade-plus splurge of late-career adventurism. "Time is of the essence, man," he said. As if to prove the point, less than 12 months later comes another full-length, Fat Pop (Volume 1).
It begins with the sense of a man in a hurry.
Paul Weller has spent the past decade or so side-stepping expectations and quietly releasing some of the most creative work of his career. For all the Modfather jibs online, since the creative reset that accompanied 2008's '22 Dreams', he's staunched refused to look back, resulting in such curios as the gorgeous folk-infused song cycle 'True Meanings' or a 2020 blast of analogue electronic wonk-pop on cult label Ghost Box. Ostensibly the follow up to last year's number one album 'On Sunset', 'Fat Pop (Volume 1)' was constructed during lockdown.