The Jam, like contemporaries The Sex Pistols and The Clash were at the forefront of the British Punk movement that started seeping into the mainstream. In fact, The Jam started as a support act for The Clash in 1977. However, there were certain characteristics that differentiated them from their punk counterparts. The Jam didn’t wear ripped clothes but wore suits and ties; they played well rehearsed shows where the others’ shows were considered more off the cuff; and they were not ashamed to draw inspiration from bands of the 60′s (The Kinks, The Who, and even Motown).
In 1982, to the suprise of fans, press, and band members, The Jam’s front-man Paul Weller announced the band would disband. They were the biggest name in the UK. Their just released single, “Beat Surrender” had made it to number one on the charts within just a week.
In 1983 we are introduced to Weller’s new project The Style Council via an EP that was released in only Japan and Holland, Introducing the Style Council. With The Style Council, Weller partnered up w/ keyboardist Mick Talbot and then sixteen year old drummer Steve White (whom still plays with Weller today). The result is a broad and eclectic style that boasts elements of soul, pop, jazz, and new wave.
Introducing the Style Council begins with the long but very smooth Long Hot Summer, which sounds like some lost Motown track. The next two tracks, Headstart For Happiness and Speak Like a Child are a couple of heavily infectious pop tunes that will keep the knees wagging and the head bopping. There is another version of Long Hot Summer and then there is The Paris Match. The Paris Match is a sad but smooth ballad about loss. Listen for a guitar and vocals contribution from Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt from Everything but the Girl. There is then a jazzy keyboard/piano track backed by bongos in Mick’s Up. The EP concludes with the bass rich dance, but perhaps trite, track in Money-Go-Round. I think it works and I’m a sucker for Mick’s keyboard jams.