Since 2008’s 22 Dreams, Paul Weller has steered his sound away from the dad rock plod that plagued most of his albums in the early noughties. Instead, the former Jam and Style Council frontman has embraced a more diverse range of styles and approaches. Saturns Pattern, Weller’s 12th solo effort, is the fourth album into this new phase of sonic adventure.
The album starts off with the thunderous White Sky, a collaboration with production duo, The Amorphous Androgynous. The title track follows, taking the tone down to a languid summery saunter.
Going My Way starts out as a ballad but soon reveals itself to be far more complex, bringing together three distinct movements for an end result that has an early ’70s McCartney-esque feel to it. Anchored by a steadfast groove over which vocals and instrumental flourishes come in and out of view, Pick It Up gradually builds to a symphonic climax. At nearly six minutes, Phoenix is an epic psychedelic soul workout.
Few artists at Weller’s age (56) or older – or younger, for that matter – make albums as vibrant and unfettered as Saturns Pattern. It’s not just another run through the motions by a heritage artist – it’s something far more rewarding.