Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Bruce Foxton - Smash The Clocks (2016)

  

Released March 2016

Recorded at - Unknown

As with the previous album, “Back In The Room”, the old “The Gift” - era Jam and early Style Council influences are all over this one. Foxton’s recognisable bass is omnipresent, of course, and vocalist Russell Hastings sounds almost more like Weller than Weller does now. Weller, in fact, appears on guitar and piano on a few tracks. 

“Now The Time Has Come” sounds so much like something that The Jam may have recorded in 1982, with its tuneful, jaunty brass backing, and then re-recored by the embryonic Style Council. “Round And Round” is a pulsating, funky number that would not have been out of place on Paul Weller’s first couple of albums, full of 1960s Traffic influences, while “Pictures And Diamonds” has a clear “Norwegian Wood” meets early Paul Weller groove. Great psychedelic guitar on this one. “Sunday Morning” again has Hastings and the brass section out-Wellering Weller in a “Solid Bond In Your Heart”/“Shout To The Top”/“Just Who Is The 5 O’Clock Hero” fashion. If you ever wondered what The Jam would have sounded like if they had continued to put albums out, Rolling Stones-style, this is it. This album would have sounded good as the 1984 follow-up to “The Gift”. “Full Circle” features Foxton on vocals and lyrically sounds just as bad as his Jam efforts, like “Carnaby Street” (of which it has real hints) and “News Of The World” were. Actually, to be fair, it is a far better track than any of his poor efforts he wrote while with The Jam. It does end with some Jam-style “sha la las” though.

The intro to “Smash The Clocks” is virtually identical to “Smithers Jones” and there are definite echoes of The Jam’s “B’ Side, “See Saw”. It has an appeal though. The saxophone solo loses The Jam comparisons for a short while. “Back Street, Dead Street” is another punky, instantly recognisable (as a) “Foxton song”. “There Are Times” is a sort of folky Beatles meets The Small Faces thing. “50 Yards Down Sandy Lane” is an enjoyable ethereal instrumental. All of this stuff is a pleasant listen every few years, ground-breaking it isn’t, but I do quite like it. I read someone say this is the best album Paul Weller hasn’t recorded since 1987’s “Heavy Soul”. I have to say they have a point…

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