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Wild Wood CD (2008)

Artist: Paul Weller

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Weller's second great peak, grandly expanded to tw

by on 2/5/2008

Jam fans that didn't follow Weller to the ersatz modern soul and balladry of his follow-on project, The Style Council, found his re-emergence as a rock-based solo artist in 1992 more to their liking. Stripping away the synthesized layers, Weller looked back to earlier eras of rock and soul, blending echoes of Motown and Stax with the heavier sounds of 1970s UK rock. His eponymous re-debut turned out to be only a warm-up for the following year's "Wild Wood," an album whose earthy title portends its organic sound. Weller's love of soul emotion is still to be heard, but couched in jazzier changes that brought to mind UK greats like Traffic and Humble Pie. The combination of gutsy guitar, commanding vocals and polished production combine the energy of The Jam with Weller's soul influences without devolving into retro imitation of either. ¶ The opening "Sunflower" is a good example of the album's alchemy, combining memorable electric guitar playing, rumbling bass and drums, impassioned vocald and soulful harmonies, wrapped with little production touches (processed vocal doubles, phase shifts and passing keyboard accents) that add a modern edge to the more rustic '70s vibe. The album's lyrics find Weller in the transition of his mid-30s, lamenting lost relationships and moving on, seeking guidance and questioning the future, offering reconciliation and recovery, and navigating introspective ennui. Weller wonders aloud "Has My Fire Really Gone Out," and answers his own question 'no' with a superb pop-psych jam to close the song. The adolescent unrest of his youth fueled the Jam, the know-it-all-comfort of his 20s spawned Style Council, and the uncertainty of his 30s led here. ¶ Yep Roc's 2008 expanded two-disc reissue augments the album's fifteen original tracks with remixes, B-sides, live versions, covers and previously unreleased tracks, all of which help illuminate the album's musical background. Highlights include Portishead's modernization of the title track, B-sides from the album's singles (including "The Loved," "Ends of the Earth" and the original "Magic Bus"), and covers of The Small Faces' "I'm Only Dreaming," Edwin Hawkins' "Oh Happy Day," and Neil Young's "Ohio." Also included are demos of album tracks that demonstrate how songs evolved to final form. A pair of demos for "Sunflower," for example, shows the path from folky original to drum-heavy final. The extras enrich an already rich LP, giving the best look yet at the beginnings of Weller's third phase. Original LP 4-1/2 stars, with bonuses 5 stars. [©2008 redtunictroll at hotmail dot com]

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Product Overview


Label Redeye Distribution
SKU 206772130
UPC 600753052648
UPC 14 00600753052648
Format CD
Release Date 2/5/2008
Author Paul Weller
Product Attributes
Artist Weller,Paul
Label Yep Roc Records
Music Format Compact Disc

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Weller's second great peak, grandly expanded to tw by on Feb 05, 2008