THE STYLE COUNCIL – Classic Album Selection. Released July 15th on Universal
Tired of the constraints of the Jam, Paul Weller shocked fans and the wider media world and broke up the most popular British band of the early ’80s at the height of their success in 1982. Frustrated by The Jam’s musical direction, he wanted to explore more soulful, jazz and R’n’B paths in his music. He formed a new band with keyboardist Mick Talbot and created a loose collective of musicians, added according to the style of music they were intending to produce, known as Honorary Councillors. Using American musical influences filtered through a fundamental European style, which harked back to some of the early roots of Mod culture, the band created a string of classic singles and albums. 2013 marks the 30th anniversary of the formation of the band and their first hit singles.This 6-album set features all the band’s studio albums as follows.
1. Introducing The Style Council
• An extraordinary eclectic intro to the band – a round up of the first few British singles and b-sides.
• Features the Jam-styled Speak Like a Child (UK no. 4 hit), the radical departure of Long Hot Summer (UK no. 3 hit) and the hard-hitting political Brit-funk of Money-Go-Round.
2. Cafe Bleu
• The official debut album released in March 1984, reaching number 2 in the UK album chart.
• An eclectic and ambitious album combining classic pop with jazzy/beat instrumentals and experimental theme throughout. Blue Note records were a big inspiration around this time.
• Features top-5 hits My Ever Changing Moods and You’re The Best Thing as well as perennial favourite – Headstart For Happiness – three of Weller’s finest pop songs.
3. Our Favourite Shop
• Another diverse collection for the second full-length album and an overtly political statement from Weller – lyrical targets included racism, excessive consumerism and the effects of self-serving governments!
• No. 1 in the UK – the only Style Council album to reach that spot.
• Features the top-ten singles – Shout To The Top and Walls Come Tumbling Down, as well as some of Weller’s best songs – Come to Milton Keynes, Boy Who Cried Wolf and Down in the Seine.
• “I had a total belief in The Style Council. I was obsessed in the early years. I lived and breathed it all. I meant every word, and felt every action. Our Favourite Shop was its culmination.” Paul Weller 2006
4. The Cost Of Loving
• Released in 1987, the album saw the group concentrating on a more extreme, urban-soul style, influenced by soul music pioneer Curtis Mayfield and by the contemporary House music scene of the time, including the Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis sound.
• Includes top-ten hit It Didn’t Matter.
• Tracks from the album were included in the band’s surreal film Jerusalem.
5. Confessions Of A Pop Group
• Probably the band’s most experimental and divisive album, with hints of Beach Boys, classical music (Weller was listening Debussy and Satie, amongst others around this time) and jazz influences.
• Songs such as the nine-minute title track and the ‘Three Piece Suite’ of The Gardener of Eden, an avant-garde mix of classical and jazz stylings, were new territory for The Style Council, and an even more radical departure from the sound of The Jam.
• Straight pop-oriented songs exist though – the hit single Life at a Top People’s Health Farm, How She Threw It All Away and Why I Went Missing are regarded as lost Weller classics.
6. Modernism: A New Decade
• Motivated by the underground club scene Weller chose another new direction for the last album – his take on the UK deep-house or garage scene.
• Featuring the gospel-tinged Promised Land – the band’s final single, Sure Is Sure, which went on to become a big bootleg dance hit throughout Europe and the instrumental – That Spiritual Feeling – one of the key cuts of the then-new acid jazz scene.
• However upon its completion in 1989, it was rejected by the label Polydor, which led to the band breaking up. It was eventually released in 1998 on the box set, The Complete Adventures of The Style Council.