By Paul Weller
These days a new Paul Weller release is generally treated with a sense of mystery or confusion. Straight up mod-blues rock or experimental double albums, it seems that the modfather himself doesn't really know what direction he's heading in. That's not a bad thing mind, ensuring that he's not trudging out the same stompers just to keep his hardy fanbase happy. Right now however, it seems that Weller is in a bit of a mood...
The title track is a moody husky growl underpinned by a thumping bass and subtle synth. It sounds like 'Hello Skinny' by The Residents being murdered by The Bravery. For some reason I've got the line "hot sweat running down your face" from the film Toxic Avenger running through my head as it thunders along.
The second track sees a complete departure, an acoustic led number that sounds exactly as you'd expect it to from the title, 'Lay Down Your Weary Burden'. It's quite depressing, with lyrics such as "you cry yourself into the grave" having you reaching for the Prozac. It's all very sombre and sounds like the stuff Damon Albarn was releasing under various guises when he started losing his hair.
'Portal To The Post' is track three and now we're in shoegaze. I always thought Weller seemed a bit boring but fair play, he's in the mood to test us. It sounds a bit like Chapterhouse, with the fuzzy guitars being complemented by a (rather annoying) orchestra. Despite a promising start it doesn't really go anywhere interesting. A bit like Weller's career really (ooh-err).
Track four is utterly banal jaunty countryish shit. It contains whistling which is the musical equivalent of goal music at the football. It's called 'Devotion' for those interested in that kind of thing. 'We Got A Lot' is next and it's starting to feel a bit like a marathon now. I don't care what it sounds like and as you can guess from my uncharacteristically conventional review, I'm in a rush. Skip, boring.
'The Piper' is the final track and we've got that old Weller voice back! Despite sounding a little bit like restaurant music being sexually abused by an ice-cream van it's a jumpy little belter, leaving me rather confused about what I've just listened to. Despite a recent dearth in creativity, there's enough here to suggest he's still relevant and inspirational in today's (rather horrendous) musical climate. However, he's still 'coffee music' and I haven't half been caning the Kenco in the last half hour. Soon I'll be having more wees than a French gang bang.
A decent effort then, but one that just doesn't quite fully compliment the EP's musical diversity.