Posted 20 hours ago

Setting Sons

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Disc two features 18 demos and tracks previously released on the ‘Extras’ collection, many of them previously unavailable, plus the four-track session for icnonic BBC Radio 1 broadcaster John Peel in October 1979. It’s a terribly exciting song with an unfortunately timeless but important message: you can’t win if you can’t break the cycle and you can’t break the cycle until you break the cycle that lives inside your head. I think most concept albums are half realised, for many reasons: label pressure to get a record out, ambition without the necessary talent to pull it off, poor collaboration, the sheer amount of noise in modern life.

The album has unusual depth that people may not grasp at first, which in my book qualifies it as a timeless work. Girl on the Phone” was one of two songs Weller dashed off at the last minute, which tells me he must have had a boatload of confidence in Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler, given the multiple time signatures and key changes he was about to throw at them.

The trio were known for their melodic pop songs, their distinctly English flavour and their mod image. As a result, the album – intended as an Orwell-inspired concept – seems flawed next to 1978’s All Mod Cons and 1980’s Sound Affects, but captures why the young Paul Weller was (reluctantly) dubbed the “spokesman for a generation”. Setting Songs was ranked the fourth best album of 1979 by NME, with "The Eton Rifles" and "Strange Town" ranked at numbers one and five among the year's top tracks.

Though we are denied the experience of hearing the song in its intended context, the strength of the imagery and the band’s tight execution put “Thick As Thieves” into the plus column.Funeral Pyre" and "Music for the Last Couple" are the only songs for which Buckler receives any writing credit.

the music, the arrangements and the emotion-evoking lyrics convinced me that the concept album would have been an absolute masterpiece. The still-relevant The Eton Rifles is the colossus here, but Thick As Thieves and Little Boy Soldiers show what a fast and furious roll they were on. perhaps he perceived it as a latent danger, a means to perpetuate the myth of British glory, a psychological crutch of sorts.Heat Wave” may be something of an orphan in the context of Setting Sons, but taken by itself, it’s a damned impressive performance. Though they shared an "angry young men" outlook, short hair, crushing volume and lightning-fast tempos, the Jam wore neatly tailored suits where others wore ripped clothes, played professionally where others were defiantly amateurish, and displayed clear 1960s rock influences where others were disdainful (at least ostensibly) of such music (which had been a major influence on the " stadium rock" and " prog rock" of the 1970s).

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