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As Is Now based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
A very solid, late-era Paul Weller album, every inch the equal to "Illumination," which it greatly resembles, and yet charged with more passionate purpose than its rather stately, well-crafted predecessor. The record is sequenced interestingly: the opening trio of tracks, all of them hard-edged, guitar-based rocknsoul tunes, suggest a return to the sound of "Heavy Soul," then the record shifts gears with "Here's the Good News," a slab of piano-based New Orleans R&B that recalls such "Stanley Road"-era tracks as "Pink on White Walls," "My Whole World is Falling Down," and "I Would Rather Go Blind." Then the record settles down for a series of acoustic-based pop tunes that recall the middle section of "Heliocentric." The second half is equally eclectic, ranging from the "Sound Affects"-like dance number, "From the Floorboards Up" to the swirling psychedelia of "Roll Along Summer," which again recalls "Heavy Soul" by way of late-Sixties Wes Montgomery. The 7 minute "Bring Back the Funk," the album's penultimate track, recalls the acid-jazz underpinnings of Weller's magnificent solo-ear debut (the riff is actually lifted from "Here's A New Thing," a track included on the Japanese version of that album but replaced on the US and UK editions by "The Strange Museum"). A real standout for me is the quiet but whimsical 60s pop waltz, "I Wanna Make It Alright," which shamelessly borrows its melody from Nick Drake's "One of These Things First," much the way "Start!" refrenced "Taxman" and "A Town Called Malice" name-checked "You Can't Hurry Love." Weller still has some secrets up his sleeve, in other words, as he proved with "It's Written On the Stars" from "Illumination," and his Style-Council take on Bacharach's "Close to You," from "Studio 105. In short, if you're a fan, or if you have any of his other solo albums, you'll find more than enough here to justify your $15 dollars.