Paul Weller

Sonik Kicks


"Electronic", "experimental" and "tough-sounding" is how Paul Weller, right, has described his 11th solo studio album, and it's hard to argue with most of that – or with the notion that Sonik Kicks continues the stylistic renaissance which began with 2008's 22 Dreams and continued with the Mercury Award-nominated Wake Up The Nation. There are echoes here of everything from late-period Jam to mid-period Style Council. In the Augustus Pablo-style melodica dub of Study In Blue there's even a flavour of the 11-minute Kosmos, from his under-appreciated first solo album. It means that his other claim for Sonik Kicks – that it is "groundbreaking, at least for me" – seems a little self-deprecating: he's always pushed at the limits of his own musical experience. Apart from on Sleep, a 20-second sonic squall, what electronica there is is used as punctuation or fill-in. If there's a prevailing style, it's guitar-driven psychedelia, stomping drums and – on opener Green – the sort of trippy production trickery we're more used to finding on acid-drenched 1960s wig-outs.

Barry Didcock