Release Date: Mar 27, 2012
Record label: Yep Roc
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, British Trad Rock
Take the title of Sonik Kicks as literally as that of its predecessor, the galvanizing 2010 Wake Up the Nation. Sonik Kicks delivers upon its titular promise immediately, coming to life with the stuttering electronic pulse of "Green," which immediately sweeps into a brightly colored psychedelic chorus, one of many dense collages and sudden shifts Paul Weller offers on his 11th solo album. Some of this contains echoes of the sprawling, picturesque double-album 22 Dreams, the 2008 record that began his latter-day renaissance, but Weller is determined not to repeat himself on Sonik Kicks, pushing himself into startling fresh territory with abandon.
That old footballing maxim about the fleeting nature of form and the permanence of class is cold comfort to musicians ailing from the creaking bones and waning powers of middle age. For [a]Paul Weller[/a], the quips about his new single almost write themselves: ‘That Dangerous Age’… what, 53? When annual visits to the colonoscopist become mandatory and your own mortality is confronted every time you rev the engine of a gaudy new sports car? Knife-edge stuff, truly. Yet if the song itself is testament to anything, it’s that His Modjesty is both in on the joke and remaining above it.
There seems to be but a few options for rock’s elder statesmen as they enter their 50s and beyond: either go raw and rude; stick to what you know; or go bananas and do something which, if successful, will put the young’uns in their place. Paul Weller went with the last option on new release Sonik Kicks and has produced a stunner. While traces of Modness are fairly discernible on solo release #11, Sonik Kicks also possesses a healthy psychedelic influence, and at other times sees the sharpest of sharp-suited silver foxes dabble in motorik beats and synthesizers.
With a 22-track experimental opus and a Mercury-nominated whipcracker preceding this record, you could forgive Paul Weller if he fancied playing it a little bit safe with his latest LP - maybe roping in some guest stars and recreating the vibe of Stanley Road or Wild Wood. Credit to the man with one of the crappest nicknames in music then, because with Sonik Kicks The Modfather has completed a hat-trick of records that genuinely challenge his status quo. With any Weller record, the sense of energy and enthusiasm that you get on first listen is usually a good indicator of the standards to be found within.
Coinciding with musical and personal upheaval – and a new partner who finally got Paul Weller (pictured, right) into David Bowie – Sonik Kicks is the third in a triumvarite of experimental albums that seems to be the Woking mod's answer to the Thin White Duke's Berlin trilogy. Like 2008's 22 Dreams and 2010's Wake Up the Nation, Weller's 11th solo effort rampages from station to station: motorik Krautrock bleeds into to wah-wah freakouts to strings-drenched soul to pastoral psychedelia and even heavy dub, sometimes simultaneously. It's a dizzying but never baffling musical odyssey, anchored at crucial moments by more conventional songs – the imaginary Bowie-Blur collaboration That Dangerous Age or By the Waters, a soul ballad reminiscent of the Style Council and his early solo work.
Review Summary: Weller, Weller, Weller...tell me more.Life must be fairly peachy for one Mr. Paul Weller. A storied career in music with The Jam, The Style Council and his own solo efforts has seen him eternally deemed ‘Modfather’. His personal life appears to be more than steady too; comfortable, re-married and with children ranging from young to adult ages.
Paul Weller, with more years and nearly as many albums in his solo career as in The Jam and Style Council combined, has always had some surprises handy, and even his more rock-focused albums have tended to have some detours. With Sonik Kicks, though, he tests even his aesthetic flexibility. The album mixes as many influences as Weller’s ever pulled together.
Paul Weller is restless. I can't think of another way to explain his last three albums, each of which has found him casting outside his usual wheelhouse for material and producing excitingly eclectic records. Sonik Kicks is the latest of these, and it wears its search for new textures in its title. Weller does a lot more with electronic textures than usual here, though that doesn't mean he's gone and produced some kind of exploratory electronic album.
Somewhere in Paul Weller's attic, there is a painting of him, bearded, with flares and an untamed Afro, blowing a panpipe. In recent years, Weller's appearance – the silver pineapple-top hair, the bespoke threads – has become increasingly ossified in antic Modness. The Weller you see, however, is not the Weller you hear. His music has run away, tuned in, dropped out.
An emotional, experimental ride, Weller’s 11th solo LP is brilliant stuff. Jude Rogers 2012 Thirty years ago, Paul Weller was number one. The Jam's A Town Called Malice spent three weeks at the top of the charts, its Motown bassline bustling, its finger clicks rustling. Watch its video now, and the 23-year-old at the middle of it has hardly changed in some ways.
After 35 years, most artists are usually completely devoid of ideas and content with recycling their classics. Or just a bit shite. Paul Weller however, isn’t one of those artists. With his 11th solo album, Weller sounds as fresh and confident as ever. He also sounds more original than most new ….