Paul Weller: 66 review – the Modfather holds his ground with a little help from his friends

<span>‘In the mood for consolidation’: Paul Weller.</span><span>Photograph: Dean Chalkley</span>
‘In the mood for consolidation’: Paul Weller.Photograph: Dean Chalkley

All hot streaks must come to an end at some point, and Paul Weller, whose albums between 2008 and 2018 saw him in a constant state of reinvention, has seemed more in the mood for consolidation in recent years. So titled because its release date is the day before his 66th birthday, and with a sleeve by Peter Blake, 66 is notable for its illustrious co-writers: Suggs, on gentle opener Ship of Fools (although the vocal melody recalls Team America’s The End of an Act, which probably was not intentional), and Bobby Gillespie (Soul Wandering, the rockiest number here). Noel Gallagher also contributes lyrics to one song.

Musically, there are definite nods to the Style Council, most obviously on My Best Friend’s Coat and A Glimpse of You. The affecting I Woke Up takes its inspiration from a late-1960s episode of The Avengers, but is more firmly rooted in the recent sense of dislocation left by the pandemic (“My house was not my home”). Weller peaks with the smouldering Burn Out, underpinned by strings and sublime saxophone. Elsewhere, however, Sleepy Hollow and Nothing are distinctly underwhelming. Overall, then, 66 is solid, rather than exceptional.