There's gentleness at the heart of the title A Kind Revolution, a suggestion that Paul Weller is getting softer as he approaches the age of 60. In 2017, he's still a few years away from that milestone but he's letting himself take things a little slower, absorbing the spaciness of 2015's Saturn's Pattern and reviving the sculpted soulful grooves of Wild Wood. This combination means A Kind Revolution feels straighter than any record Weller has released in the past decade -- in other words, anything he's done since he started his collaboration with Simon Dine, who acrimoniously parted after 2012's Sonik Kicks -- but where As Is Now hit hard, this has an easy touch even when the events kick off with the raver "Woo Sé Mama." This isn't the only time guitars are cranked on A Kind Revolution -- "Satellite Kid" descends into an extended jam -- but soul is Weller's guiding star on this record, leading him to the well-manicured upscale Boy George duet "One Tear" and the sharp funk of "She Moves with the Fayre," which features a cameo from Robert Wyatt. These guest appearances, particularly Wyatt's, suggest how Weller isn't content to settle into a familiar groove -- the lovely vocal harmonies on the closing "The Impossible Idea" are further indication of that -- but A Kind Revolution nevertheless feels cozy, a record designed to provide nothing but comfort and that's an unusual twist for Paul Weller.
A Kind Revolution Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine