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Illumination

Paul Weller

Release Date: 09.16.02 (uk)
Record label: Independiente
Genre(s): Rock

80 Music-Critic Score
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Going Places Again
by: peter naldrett - uk correspondent


Clinging on to the idyll of being cool despite seemingly being around since the Jurassic period, The Modfather is back in the thick of things right now. Paul Weller, he who brought us the joys of The Jam and The Style Council is happy to see his sixth solo studio album out this week and you can rest assured this is no dinosaur.


Indeed, the list of little helpers he enrolled to put together Illumination is impressive in itself, with Noel Gallagher chipping in the drums, percussion and bass on the elegant "One X One," and Stereophonics frontman Kelly Jones bringing his unique voice to "Call Me No 5." There is also a healthy presence from Ocean Colour Scene as Steve White, Steve Cradock and Damon Minchella get involved. Add to that Weller’s mellowed transition from “in ya face” thrasher to wound-down protest singer, and it was always going to be an interesting affair.


Illumination is, in fact, as mature as you would expect from somebody like Weller and is faultlessly assembled, with the exception of a few annoying moments such as the ridiculous reprise at the end of "Standing Out In The Universe." But don’t let them deter you from reaching for this CD, which will be loved by Weller fans and lovers of top-level guitar performers.


"Going Places" gets things off to racing start and immediately after the album’s most interesting song lifts off with a tedious opening before becoming addictive. The song is "A Bullet For Everyone," a war-protest song that Weller has penned in time for the September 11 anniversary and slams the gung-ho Bush-Blair partnership in a similar way that he used to attack Thatcher in the 1980s. "Leafy Mysteries" is simply divine, with hypnotic verses and heavenly chorus, paving the way for "It’s Written In The Stars" - Weller’s latest single that heralds a new brass and organ sound for the modmeister and has seen a return to the top ten pop charts.


Weller’s golden solo period came with Stanley Road and then the wagon started to slow down, 2000’s Heliocentric never lifting off at all. But dare I say that he could be seeing return to former glory with Illumination. A new light has been cast on one of the oldest artists still packing in the crowds on the road. 23-Sep-2002 11:08 PM