Goobye Jam,Hello....Style Council?
Andre' S Grindle | Bangor,ME. | 08/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Paul Weller is ready for a big musical change.While on
"The Gift" Weller and The Jam deliver some typically catchy,
sponanious Brit pop like "Happy Together","Ghosts" and "Running
On the Spot",much of this album seriously attempts to blend in
heavy funk,jazz,Carribean and even African styled music into
The Jam's framework.This approch doesn't always succeed entirely
but on numbers like the Sly Ston-ish "Trans-Global Express",the
bombastic afro-funk of "Precious" and the classic,almost ready
-made Motown beat of the classic "Town Called Malice".While
the Jam effectively pull off the diverse songwritng assignments
and add in punchy horn charts,it's clear Weller was proven right-
the guitar-based Jam simply wern't the band to make this kind
of music consistantly and while they're all fantastic musicians
in their own right,Weller was wise to try something new next time
around with a new band to work with.But that doesn't take anything away from this fun,bouncy album!"
Running on the Spot
Paul Ess. | Holywell, N.Wales,UK. | 12/16/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"And so begins the inevitable decline.
'The Gift' is in no way a bad album, but compared to some of its rich and colourful ancestors, it was becoming clear Weller was in need of a fresh challenge.
To his credit he broke The Jam just in time. While they were on top. It was the right thing to do - just as going on a horrific farewell tour was the wrong thing. Ill-advised and slowly but steadily becoming wretched, Weller slipped away with the drawn out horror of 5 nights at the Hammersmith Odeon plaguing the dreamy nights of loyal Jam fans, and a bombing combination of dodgy politics, the appalling Style Council and even dodgier solo career - where he started playing Jam songs again - confirming how uninspired and desperate it'd all become.
Weller and desperate in the same sentence - just doesn't sound right does it?
'The Gift' has good stuff on it; 'Ghosts' is fine, Weller was obviously listening to Ian Hunter's 'Letter to Britannia From the Union Jack' while he was writing it and 'Carnation' pulls the right strings but it all sounds a bit strained. Sort of a collision of the last 4 year's styles and influences, bundled together in a sack and bunged half-formed at the expectant listener. There's no way Weller would have let 'the Gift' happen two years before - but like a dying man giving all his possessions away, he knew the end was fast coming.
As the dissolute pop-chart mongrels asked more and more of Weller and co, the hungry and fastidious Jam legions began to look elsewhere."