For a man who has done so much - enjoyed enormous popular and critical success (both en groupe and solo), travelled hither and yon across the genres and spawned entire musical movements - what else but a covers album remained for Paul Weller? The Modfather's version of Gil Scott-Heron's The Bottle precedes the album, but will it successfully whet appetites?
The track bounces along at a heady pace blending Weller's voice (still as earthy, and as recognisable as ever), plenty of guitar and a sizeable jazz orchestra. The effect is a tad cacophonous and frankly, it does begin to grate a little. Overall though, it is an agreeable enough listen and a promising taster of what should be a tremendous album.
The single also holds two other songs: a reworking of Corrinna, Corrinna by Taj Mahal and an adaptation of The Lovin' Spoonful's Coconut Grove. The latter is slightly the more likeable, but it's easy to see why they both missed out on album selection.
The Bottle is only essential for the collector who wants the additional tracks. The casual Weller fan would do better to wait for the album.