They call him the Modfather. But as Paul Weller was still in short parka's when Brighton beach became a Lambretta breakers yard, he's really more of a Mod-older-cousin. He is old enough though to have soaked up the influences of American Soul and R'n'B first hand. And lo, to prove it, the Weller covers album is nigh, with this cover of Rose Royce's Wishing On A Star an early taster.
Can't say as I've had much time for solo Weller and his ever changing mods, I mean moods, before, but blow me if Wishing On A Star isn't an astonishing tributerama of understated depth. Mellotrons, retro drum computers, decorative harps and the warm heat of strings provide a rainbow's worth of colour, served up in a production with more than a hint of Willie Mitchell's Hi recordings. Best of all, Weller never tries to match Gwen Dickey's vocal range, and the grit of his voice has rarely been surer. No mean trick to personalise a stone-cold classic, but Weller pulls it off.
As for the bonus tracks, Weller is the 5,368th artist to cover Sly's Family Affair, and the 23,768th (at the last count) to cover Let It Be Me. You may think there's really nothing new to bring to these compositions. And you'd be right. Personally, I'd liked to have heard him covering some early Techno records. I've absolutely no idea why.