The reason that I know who The Jam are is because my older brother was obsessed with them when I was a youngster and followed the career of dear old Mr Weller in what has now been several decades. I eventually caught on. He wasn’t alone in his admiration, obviously, and it’s unlikely that I need to give any background to this record. But, just in case you’ve been away to the moon for the past thirty-odd years, or perhaps you’re an alien life form, ‘Setting Sons’ is arguably The Jam’s most ambitious album; true to their trademark spiky, political edge throughout but embracing an apparent concept of three friends that reunite after a war, only to find they have nothing left in common.

Indeed, documenting the resigned dreariness that was (and probably still is) modern Britain is what the band were (and probably still are) famed for, although they’ve become potentially less cynical and sneering, considering this is a well-timed release just before Christmas. Either way, diehard fans and new generations alike won’t be short of rebellious ammunition to either relive or discover in what comprises either a deluxe or super deluxe version, now brimming over with even more extras, mostly unheard demos and live versions of classic tracks, all finished off with a good dose of class hatred and honest portraiture that still relates today. The Jam’s sound inspired umpteen guitar bands after them and so is just as fresh now as it was then- 53 tracks in all here, each around three minutes of some of the smartest brand of their generation, looking no further than tracks like the well-known ‘Eton Rifles’, the elaborate storytelling of ‘Little Boy Soldiers’, contrasting string section of ‘Smithers-Jones’ and even the cover version of ‘Heat Wave’ to demonstrate why The Jam are just as vital as they were 35 years ago.


A must-have gift for receding or non-receding Mods everywhere.

Anna C

Released 17th November, 2014