The Upshot: As close to heavenly as Weller’s ever been.
BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
In a very real sense, it’s a credit to his credibility that Paul Weller earned himself the nickname the “Modfather,” even though he came along a good ten years after the original Mod brigade had made its initial appearance. Nevertheless, Weller’s absolute dedication to the cause – that is, his adoration and admiration for the likes of the Small Faces, the Kinks, Traffic and other members of the English establishment — imbued him with an authority and authenticity nearly as striking as that of that of the artists that inspired him. His work with the Jam and the efforts he mounted on his own helped reinforce that notion, and while Style Council might have seemed a slight diversion, it still affirmed his industrious intent. Even so, Weller continues to convey a nagging impression that there’s better work ahead of him, and that for all his accomplishments he’s yet to make an album as good as those he offered early on, “Wild Wood, “Stanley Road,” and his self-titled debut among them.
Weller himself seems aware of this need to reassert himself, and as a result, “Saturn’s Pattern” begins with a one-two punch that’s as prominent and pronounced as any album opener in recent memory. “White Sky” and the title track establish the fact Weller’s ready to rock, and if the track that follows, “Going My Way” creates a lull, it soon amends for that with some beautiful Beach Boys-like harmonies and harmonics. Weller’s fixation with synths and effects still clouds his melodies at times, but the highlights of this album — the soaring choral sing-along of “I’m Where I Should Be” and the cooing choir of “Phoenix” — emulate the perfect pop Weller’s clearly capable of conceiving. Though only nine songs long, “Saturn’s Pattern” is as close to heavenly as Weller’s ever been.
DOWNLOAD: “White Sky,” “Saturns Pattern,” “Going My Way”