Paul Weller

Stanley Road

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In many ways, Stanley Road is Wild Wood, Pt. 2, a continuation of the laid-back, soul-inflected rock that dominated his previous albums. Named after the street where he grew up, Stanley Road could be seen as a return to Paul Weller's roots, yet his roots were in the Who and the Kinks, not in Traffic. (At this point, the sound of the Jam matters little in what this music sounds like.) Weller's music has always had R&B roots -- the major difference with both Wild Wood and Stanley Road is how much he and his band stretch out. Stanley Road in particular features more jamming than any of his previous work. That doesn't mean he has neglected his songwriting -- a handful of Weller classics are scattered throughout the album. Unfortunately, too much of it is spent on drawn-out grooves that are self-conscious about their own authenticity. Still, he has the good sense to revive Dr. John's "I Walk on Gilded Splinters" and invite his disciple Noel Gallagher (Oasis) along to jam.

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