YEP Roc Records
(Three and a half stars)
He’s no spring chicken and his music has been defined as ”˜dad rock’ in the past, and maybe the trademark mish mash of styles is Paul Wellers’ way of dealing with some kind of midlife crisis. But all things considered this is Wellers creative highpoint, at least as far as his solo career goes, and in the end this jumble of sounds somehow manages to merge itself into one neat and tidy package. 22 Dreams proves that not only is the spirit of musical ingenuity alive and kicking in Weller, but so is the spirit of collaboration. The album features appearances from members of the British rock empire, including Oasis’ Noel Gallagher and Gem Archer, Ocean Colour Scene’s Steve Cradock and ex-Blur guitarist Graham Coxon. Given that he has been through the genres, from his mod-rock pioneering days of ”˜The Jam’, to the new age days of ”˜Style Council’, his diversities become more apparent than ever on this record, with folk on ”˜Light Nights’ and ”˜Black River, R&B on ”˜22 Dreams’, instrumental on the Alice Coltrane tribute ”˜Song For Alice’ and ”˜Lullaby for Kinder’, tango on ”˜One Bright Star to my personal favourite, the heavy guitar rocking on ”˜Echoes Round The Sun.’ There are moments when the ol’ lad gets a little self-indulgent, like on the obscure electronic sound collage on ”˜111’ or the spoken word monologue ”˜God’, but given that the album is 70 minutes long and has 21 tracks on it, there’s plenty of room for one or two blunders on what might be considered a musical odyssey, or should we say ”˜modyssey’.