In a career that has seen some remarkable risks taken, Paul Weller has decided to go, however briefly, in an altogether unexpected direction for his new EP. Out Friday via Warner Brothers Records, Mother Ethiopia offers up 3 expansive cuts that reveal that The Modfather remains a genuinely adventurous musician.
Teaming up here with The Stone Foundation again on "Mother Ethiopia Part 1", Weller indulges his best dancehall instincts to contribute to a truly infectious groove. Weller previously worked with The Stone Foundation on their recent album, reviewed by me here, and now he is content to almost take a backseat to the rhythm-heavy commotion going on around him. Bongo Bob joins Paul for the second version of the track on this EP, while "Mother Ethiopia Part 3" sees the former Jam frontman link up with the Ethiopia-by-way-of-London-group Krar Collective to plunge further into the bubbling hooks of the title tune of this EP. A deft plucked guitar underpins the percussion as a theremin coos in the background. But it is the vocals (in Amharic) from Genet Assefa of Krar Collective that make this so memorable. Invitingly percussive and full of plaintive work from the singer, this track is truly stunning. Weller is to be commended for bringing this sort of music to the market as it deserves a wide audience.
[Photo: Tom Beard]