Walking the night....
Released February 1987
Recorded at Solid Bond Studios, London
After the high point that was the politically-motivated “Our Favourite Shop” from 1985, two years later the Style Council were back with a shorter album of more polished, professional-sounding soul/funk/pop, tapping into what was now starting to be called “RnB” - laid back, synth-drummy late night US-influenced radio soul.
1. It Didn't Matter
2. Right To Go
3. Heavens Above
4. Fairy Tales
6. Walking The Night
8. The Cost Of Loving
The album was much less instant and “in your face” than its predecessor, tending to wash over you somewhat. The two singles from the album, the soulful “Waiting” and the even more relaxing and very appealing “It Didn’t Matter” are probably the high spots. The stark and pointed “A Woman’s Song” and also “Fairy Tales” show that Weller had not quite lost his political edge, but overall, it seemed as if he wanted to drop the political opinionating and just chill out, man. The plain orange cover seemed to exemplify that feeling too. Bright, one dimensional but just maybe lacking a little in individual personality?
“Right To Go” featured rap/hip-hop, for the first time since “A Gospel” on 1983’s debut album, from guests The Dynamic Three. However, it does, unfortunately, sound dreadfully naive all these years later.
“Angel” is another of the album’s high points though, a beautiful soul ballad. “Heavens Above”, “The Cost Of Loving” and “Walking The Night” are all eminently listenable tracks - good hooks, nice soul feel and Weller’s voice as good as it could get.
The sound on this remastered release is good, as warm and full as it can be given that The Style Council's out put was always rather trebly and while this album is often cited as being the start of The Style Council’s decline (I guess commercially that was certainly true), personally I have always found it to be an enjoyable listen every now and again. The fact that in 2018 I still dig it out has to be a compliment. It is, however, very much of its time in many ways.