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As if forever living up to the twin legacies of "The Eton Rifles" and "My Ever Changing Moods" wasn't enough, what did Paul Weller go and do in 2010? Only put out one of the most acclaimed records of that year, and of his career, in Wake Up the Nation. It certainly seems to have woken up not only his nation but much of the world to the fact that the UK icon was not only still around but quite capable of producing vital, exciting music, a blend of rock, RnB, funk and even psychedelia. Its predecessor, 22 Dreams, was nearly as impressive.
So he's got his work cut out for him, does the esteemed Mr. Weller. Is he up to the task with Sonik Kicks? Apparently so. Between highlights like the jazzy, glistening "Study in Blue", the acoustic, accordion-laced "By the Waters", the propulsive "The Attic" and the thumping motoriks of opener "Green" it's electric and eclectic thrills most of the way. Here's what the tastemakers are saying:
BBC: "Weller has never been a man to look back at his career, in anger or otherwise; time ain't been short for him either, but it seems to have inspired him rather than smothered him. Sonik Kicks, his 11th solo album, is alive with the vitality that implies."
Drowned in Sound: "It might seem lazy to suggest that Sonik Kicks combines the urgency of Wake Up The Nation with the boundary pushing of 22 Dreams, but it’s such an apt comparison that it’s difficult to ignore. Weller seems enthusiastic, upbeat and genuinely inventive across the whole LP, with only a couple of minor missteps throughout."
NME: "It’s an early indication that the Indian summer ushered in by 2008’s ‘22 Dreams’ and the Mercury-nominated ‘Wake Up The Nation’ isn’t over just yet."
So what do you say? Like a certain other fifty-something artist in our carousel this week, Weller is on his 11th album with Sonik Kicks, he's living in the moment, and we're happy he sounds as good as he does.