Paul Weller: True Meanings review – a gently introspective set

(Parlophone)

If Paul Weller’s 50s were defined by a welcome musical restlessness – 2008’s 22 Dreams began a run of shapeshifting records that overflowed with vitality and fresh ideas – the now 60-year-old sometime Modfather’s 26th album is a surprise in a different way. A set of gentle pastoral songs, it finds him finally immersing himself in the singer-songwriterly fare that he’s intermittently dipped into since 1978’s English Rose. With backing from his regular band, plus guest spots from Martin Carthy and Rod Argent among others, Weller sounds at ease with this more introspective material, the lush orchestration acting as a perfect foil to his voice.

The aptly named Glide is sublime, with echoes of Cat Stevens in its lullaby-like simplicity. Gravity is equally lovely, Weller crooning “In my heart you’ll always be/ The greatest love that I could feel” against a backdrop of strings. He saves the best until last: White Horses, one of three co-writes with Erland Cooper of Erland and the Carnival (including, oddly, Bowie, on which Weller sings Cooper’s lyrics, making it seem like a tribute at one remove), gradually builds to a stirring climax with real emotional heft.

Watch an interview with Paul Weller about the making of True Meanings.

Contributor

Phil Mongredien

The GuardianTramp

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