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Paul Weller - True Meanings (Album Review)

Monday, 24 September 2018 Written by Jacob Brookman

Paul Weller is consistently operating at a level that most other musical grandees struggle to reach. His 14th solo record arrives hot on the heels of 2017’s ‘A Kind Revolution’, an innovative rock album that reminded us that the modfather still possesses political punch and a high degree of intellectual dynamism. ‘True Meanings’ is far softer and comprises pastoral ballads led mostly by acoustic guitar.

High points include the Motown-infused Mayfly and opener The Soul Searchers - both of which have the wit and wisdom that one might expect from a songwriter who has just hit 60. This is an album for Sunday afternoon drives into the country, and while it lacks the energy and excitement of his heavier albums it works superbly on its own terms.

Elsewhere, Gravity is a charming, waltzing composition with simple lyrical refrains playing alongside some highly satisfying vocal harmonies.

Weller is traditionally quite conservative when dealing with multiple voices on his records, but this track - along with Old Castles - demonstrates a musician who is still discovering new elements to tease out from his music.

Old Castles, in fact, might well be the best song here. It’s a swinging, lilting track with magnificent string arrangements and gorgeous counterpoint melodies darting in various directions. It’s up there with his most popular solo work and represents the closest thing to that unique brand of masculine aggression that Weller embodied in his work with the Jam.

That said, some of the tracks are a little flat. What Would He Say? is decent enough but dances a little too close to tedium, while Bowie is a touching, but slightly maudlin song that doesn’t quite do its namesake justice. Nonetheless, ‘True Meanings’ is a welcome and noteworthy addition to a world class body of work.

Paul Weller Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu October 11 2018 - LONDON Royal Festival Hall
Fri October 12 2018 - LONDON Royal Festival Hall

Click here to compare & buy Paul Weller Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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