Unhappy with the slicker approach of Setting Sons
, the Jam
got back to basics, using the direct, economic playing of All Mod Cons
and "Going Underground," the simply brilliant single which preceded Sound Affects
by a few months. Thematically, though, Paul Weller
explored a more indirect path, leaving behind (for the most part) the story-song narratives in favor of more abstract dealings in spirituality and perception -- the approach stemming from his recent readings of Blake and Shelley (who was quoted on the sleeve), but more specifically Geoffrey Ash, whose Camelot and the Vision of Albion made a strong impression. Musically, Weller
drew upon Revolver
as a primary source (the bassline on "Start," which comes directly from "Taxman," being the most obvious occurrence), incorporating the occasional odd sound and echoed vocal, which implied psychedelia without succumbing to its excesses. From beginning to end, the songs are pure, clever, infectious pop -- probably their catchiest -- with "That's Entertainment" and the should-have-been-a-single "Man in the Corner Shop" standing out.