The Style Council – Our Favourite Shop

ARTIST: The Style Council  Our-Favourite-Shop-Cover
TITLE: Our Favourite Shop (Internationalists in the US)
SINGLES: Walls Come Tumbling Down (#6 UK), Come to Milton Keynes (#23 UK), The Lodgers (#13 UK). Shout to the Top (#7 UK) was on the US version.
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: They had a cult following in the US, so if you were part of that, you probably know the record. Else, no.
LINEUP: Paul Weller, Mick Talbot, Steve White, Dee C. Lee, Camille Hinds. Session horn and string players.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The Style Council makes another diverse album in the soul / jazz / pop funk motif, and it’s big in the UK even as it attacked Thatcherism.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Weller and company mine the grove of soul and funk, and the eclecticism of jazz, in their second full length album. They also tap into a growing resentment of Thatcherism by the young. Fighting back against the status quo also meant fighting against the musical trends of the time. The US wasn’t going to play a song on the radio that name-checked Milton Keynes (either the economist OR the town) , no matter who it was (well, maybe Michael Jackson, Madonna or Prince, but not these guys).

Yet, the Style Council is hemmed in by the musical trends. No matter how much they try not to fall into the realm of ‘just another pop group’ – their instrumentation and sounds are very 80’s and some songs suffer by that. In retrospect, this dates the album more than its political commentary in the lyrics.

It’s a better record all in all than their first album and first EP. Some songs, like “A Man Of Great Promise” or “The Lodgers” hang with great hooks and melodies. Still, the air of 80’s synths and drums hang in the air.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Shout to the Top”, a big UK single and added to the US album, was also in the movie Vision Quest.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, singles, B-sides and remixes

GRADE: B: I’ve never been totally sold on the Style Council but this is a decent album.

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