The Jam - Dimonds and Rust: The Jam: All Mod Cons
Paul Smith 10/07/2008
In 1977, Paul Weller was stuck in a creative rut. The Jams previous album, 'The Modern World' was by its writers own admission, rush released, and whispers of inter band tension and utterly relentless touring left him perilously close to burn out. With no time off booked a resentful band trooped in to the recording studio, to record that consisted of a 'bunch of songs left off the last one'.
Thankfully, producer Chris Parry told Weller how bad the results were, and after spitting his dummy out, he had a rethink and went on to produce his masterpiece, raging against everything. The middle class, his record company, proto chavs, bloated rock stars, and his missus all get it in the neck, with some of his most priceless sarcasm. ('To be rich and have lots of fans, and have lots of girls to prove that I'm a man').
This is a record of exhausting, often ferocious power. From the sneer of 'To Be Someone', (covered by Noel Gallagher who completely missed the irony), to the psychedelic fade out of 'In the Crowd' (still a mod floor filler), it is uncommonly good music. It feels like the band are slinging everything at us, it could be as pop as Abba if the lyrics weren't so vicious. It's mystifying how Weller's painted as a grump by sections of the general public, bearing in mind some of the hilarious lyrics on display here. 'Billy Hunt' (clue - it's rhyming slang); 'I remember the first day at my job, I didn't get along with the foreman Bob. Do this, do that, don't even stop for a cough'. 'Mr Clean'; 'Smart blue suit and you went to Cambridge too. You miss page 3 but the Times is right for you'. It's such a shame he got well off and comfortable before Thatcher's mob turned up.
If we're going to quibble with the tracklisting, then maybe they should have ended it with 'A Bomb in Wardour Street', the bands very own 'Day in the Life'. 'Down in the Tube Station…' is brilliant, but nothing could follow the song that gave The Clash their greatest album(and title track) and proves if nothing else, that two years before Strummer and co. for Weller, London came calling.
Check out other albums from Elvis Costello, Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine,Joy Division, and Jeff Buckley in the Dimaonds and Rust series.