Universal Island Records | Universal Music Operations Limited
Written for Drum Media (The Music)
Topping off an already successful 35 year long career, singer/songwriter PAUL WELLER has released his eleventh solo album, Sonik Kicks. His heavy association with the Britpop movement and songwriting that is embedded in the English culture has left him with an album that balances extensiveness, focus and inspiration.
The first track Green has a convincing pulse that catches your attention and pulls you in. King I Klang’s adrenaline pushes through giving it a deeper turn, but in the somewhat overly produced album, the real centre piece is Study in Blue. This track is a curious duet with Weller’s wife Hannah creating a great contrast from the rest of the album with its versatility. It takes breathless jazz components with doubly echoes, and mutates them into a psychedelic dub reggae experience that is quick to build up excitement.
The remainder of the album barrels out quite hectically. Each track throws out idea after idea without really flowing, jumping from one extreme to another. The Dangerous Age shows how the electronics can be put to good use adding an extra kick to the beat, but it is really propelled by the old fashioned “shoo woop” backing vocals. Noel Gallagher, Oasis, contributes to The Attic, with former Blur guitarist who also performs on a couple of the other tracks.
Weller styles from punchy beats reflecting on “The Jam” days instilled with heart-hazy soul, giving the album an enjoyable an interesting twist. To interpret the “sonic” part of the album’s title a bit too literally, the spacey brain-piercing synths are piled on rather heavily. Whilst you must give the guy credit for his experimental direction, the restless approach doesn’t do him many favours.