vendredi, septembre 10, 2004

Album: Paul Weller

Studio 150, V2

By Andy Gill

10 September 2004

This isn't the first album of cover versions from Paul Weller: last year's Button Downs compiled together a dozen others he'd previously recorded as B-sides, by some of the same songwriters he covers here, such as Neil Young and Bob Dylan. His intention this time wasn't to record his favourite songs, but those which might best be moulded to his own needs. And in some cases, the results are as good as anything he's recorded in years: Rose Royce's "Wishing on a Star" shines in a soulful arrangement built around Weller's Wurlitzer electric piano; and Gil Scott-Heron's anti-booze groove "The Bottle" dashes along with an infectious sense of urgency.

Best of all, though, is Tim Hardin's "Don't Make Promises", transformed through a New Orleans funk arrangement incorporating an Allen Toussaint-style horn chart, full of quirky phrasings. Toussaint's own classic "Hercules", long a staple of Weller's live show, is performed more in keeping with the (Aaron Neville) original - as is Gordon Lightfoot's "Early Morning Rain", one of two folk songs featuring Eliza Carthy's fiddle.

The bad ones, however, are very bad: an "All Along the Watchtower" uncomfortably lashed to the riff of "Don't Fear the Reaper", and worst of all a version of "Close to You" that abandons the perfectly adequate vocal melody that Burt Bacharach originally devised.

©2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd. All rights reserved