Paul Weller: Fat Pop, Vol. 1 (Universal/digital outlets)

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Paul Weller: Fat Pop, Vol. 1 (Universal/digital outlets)
One of the best albums of 2020 was Paul Weller's expansive On Sunset, a collection so consistent (aside from one misstep) we recommended it on the double vinyl version to get the full arc.

And we might point you to the remixes which are also on Spotify (one by our favourite Jane Weaver).

On Sunset confirmed that of all those who emerged out of post-punk Britain half a century ago he – along with Elvis Costello – is one of the few whose current work is consistent, restless and always worth checking in for.

But of course the scheduled follow-up tour was cancelled (he'd planned elaborate shows augmenting the band with horns and strings).

No point sitting around feeling sorry for yourself though. So what else do than go back into the studio and do another album?

And that is the addictive collection of snappy, energetically chippy songs on Fat Pop Vol.1 – at single album length, 12 songs in 38 minutes – which again touches points in his extensive career: his recent electro-pop interests with a punk-era delivery (Cosmic Fringes); slippery funk-pop on the title track which eases towards to dubbed-up dancefloor; elements of Style Council sophistication (the subtle setting of Glad Times and Failed which deal with the possibility of a failing relationship and facing his personal shortcomings respectively); Cobwebs/Connections harks back to acoustic pleasures of Wild Wood . . . 

As was evident in On Sunset, Weller can stretch into the more elaborate territory occupied by David Bowie in his final decade (the brittle True, although Shades of Blue is Seventies Bowie) as much as cleverly implode genres – as he did with On Sunset – yet still write self-contained pop songs.

And the final two songs – In Better Times and She Glides The Stream – are a lovely pay-off.

With lush strings, band contributions and other embellishment, this hardly sounds like it was done on budget.

That said, it's not quite the album On Sunset was, but it does whet the appetite for a second volume.

Although the three-CD box set edition with a live session and unreleased material might be just for the utterly dedicated.

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You can hear Fat Pop on Spotify here


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