Paul Weller, "A Kind Revolution" (Warner Bros.)
Paul Weller's "A Kind Revolution" is an excellent set from the soon-to-be 59-year-old Modfather, 10 richly-detailed yet uncluttered songs which prolong his creative renaissance.
Weller — never one to procrastinate, even 40 years since his debut with The Jam's "In the City" — seems especially focused on this album, the 25th studio recording of his career.
If his penchant for staying current sometimes made for slightly jarring innovation, here he has concocted a kind of "Weller concentrate," carefully crafted settings updating his classic sounds.
The same goes for the guests — Robert Wyatt, Boy George (!), P.P. Arnold and Madeleine Bell add their own vocal spice while young guitarist Josh McClorey from Irish band The Strypes again rewards Weller's trust with some exquisite playing.
"Nova" is reverb-heavy space rock, a kind of Hawkwind-meets-Bowie-meets-B52's, while "Long Long Road" combines echoes from the melody of Leonard Cohen's "Bird on the Wire" with a soaring, Frankie Miller-like vocal.
Only the spelling is old fashioned on "She Moves With the Fayre," plump with strings and a Wyatt trumpet solo. "The Cranes are Back" further develops the pastoral themes of his classic "Wild Wood" album.
"Hopper" salutes the late New York painter Edward Hopper, and Weller's love among the blaring sirens on "New York" is for his wife.
Closing waltz "The Impossible Idea" combines thoughts of changing oneself instead of taking on the whole world with production reminiscent of early 1970s Beach Boys.
Weller says he's already working on his next album, "acoustic, with some orchestration," expected for his 60th birthday. Until then, life's a riot with "A Kind Revolution."