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Paul Weller: As Is Now

The Modfather returns to show the kids a thing or two

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7 / 10 Every couple of years, Paul Weller looks like he’s finished. ‘Studio 150’, last year’s covers farrago, was more miss than hit and was loved only by the Modfather’s fierce devotees.

But every time he looks like he’s about to fall off the edge, he returns with a record that reminds you why he is much more than just a well-dressed man with great hair.

‘As Is Now’ is Weller plugged in again. He’s heard the sound of The Libs and Epworth’s stable, realised they are all in his thrall, and kicked back to show the upstarts just how daddy can rock.

‘Blink And You’ll Miss It’ and forthcoming single ‘Come On/Let’s Go’ channel the spirit and the spit of The Jam. His comeback seven-inch ‘From The Floorboards Up’ has the edgy, malevolent sting of a man in a hurry. Something is prickling one of the most prickly men in rock and he’s in no mood to sit down.

Then, just as you feel the album is packed full of no-fear tunes, he pulls the rug. ‘All On A Misty Morning’ is bucolic folk – tremendously earnest and very, very grown up. And head for ‘Bring Back The Funk (Pts 1 & 2)’ with your guard up. It’s jammed full of slap bass, sounds like The Style Council at their worst, and is infuriating.

But, these are minor gripes because, truly, Weller’s back. And this time, he rules.

Paul McNamee

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