So not even a pandemic could slow down Paul Weller. Right on the heels of his early summer 2020 stunner, On Sunset, the legendary singer-songwriter-guitarist was keeping busy – writing new material and recording – and this album is yet another triumph in a rich, deep catalog that has changed on a constant, especially over the last decade. With each new release, Paul Weller continues to evolve; exploring musical styles that you would never imagine him embracing. And Fat Pop (Volume 1) is another golden thread in this rich tapestry.
It’s easy to understand the “pop” in the album’s title – it’s a wonderfully, instantly accessible album that’s rich in melody; some of it so sweet, you can sink your teeth in immediately. Case and point, the first two tracks – which is always a statement: the opening one-two punch – “Cosmic Fringes” and “True”. The former has a “current” feel; something you can easily imagine hearing on any radio station. It’s catchy, quick and unforgettable. “True” just comes at you with biting guitars and wraps itself around you with its call-and-response vocals and pure rock-ability. “Shades Of Blue” is that “classic” Weller style – the obvious ’60’s influence (a strong cross between The Beatles and The Kinks), the soulful vibe – and we get to hear the voice of Mr. Weller’s daughter, Leah, sharing space with her father. “Cobweb/Connections” is an acoustic-driven piece of – a universal message sorely needed after a year like the one we’ve all lived through; “Testify” has that delicious sense of ’70’s-oriented groove – a mix of jazzy and groovy. “Moving Canvas” is (again) infomed by a ’70’s feel; something I can listen to on a car stereo, blasting loudly while I speed down a highway; “In Better Times” is a wash of melody, immersed in keyboards and guitar lines weaving around one another and tempered by a perfectly subtle sax and “Still Glides The Stream” is the dramatically powerful closer – a piano and acoustic guitar backdrop, colored by elegant orchestration.
It’s pointless to try to explain all the movements and dimensions to this album – it’s simple: get a copy and let it seep its way into your bloodstream. It’s impossible not to be taken, moved and obsessed with the music contained herein. At 63, Paul Weller never ceases to amaze and overwhelm – and I couldn’t be more thankful.
Fat Pop (Volume 1) is currently available