tue 28/03/2017

CD: Paul Weller - Jawbone (Music from the Film) | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Paul Weller - Jawbone (Music from the Film)

CD: Paul Weller - Jawbone (Music from the Film)

The Modfather comes over all experimental and cinematic

'Bottle' and especially 'The Ballad of Jimmy McCabe' would comfortably sit on any of Weller’s recent albums
'Jawbone': Weller's first film soundtrack

Soundtrack work may have been seen as a respectable sideline for veterans of the punk era for a while but it has taken 40 years for Paul Weller to join the likes of Nick Cave and Barry Adamson and strike out in this genre. Somewhat fittingly, Weller’s first foray into cinema provides the accompaniment to Johnny Harris’ gritty boxing flick Jawbone and it’s certainly no aural wallpaper but instead provides an ebb and flow of its own even without the accompanying visuals.

The sprawling “Johnny/Blackout” opens the album with a sonic soundscape that builds and falls back for 20 minutes and is a million miles from Weller’s Modfather persona. “Jawbone”, on the other hand, lays down a heavy psychedelic freakout with layers of backwards recordings, wah-wah effects, strings, feedback and film dialogue that is reminiscent of his “White Sky” collaboration with The Amorphous Androgynous from 2015’s Saturns Pattern album. The more mellow ballads, “Bottle” and especially “The Ballad of Jimmy McCabe”, however, would comfortably sit on any of Weller’s recent albums, and both demonstrate how his voice has gained quite a richness since his singular bark on “In the City”. Elsewhere, the album relaxes into more standard soundtrack fare with atmospheric strings, sparse piano lines and washes of electronica, but it all suggests that Weller may be ready to reveal a whole new bucket of sounds to his groove.

While his soundtrack to Jawbone is unlikely to displace some of Weller’s more obvious albums in the hearts of his devoted fanbase, it is a success within its own genre and is certainly more than a mere curiosity in the Modfather’s catalogue. Soundscapes, freak-outs and sensitive acoustic ballads pepper this disc and all suggest that the great man still has plenty to say, and isn’t afraid to try new ways to say it.

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