Foxton's LP Review (Courtesy of The Mighty Captain Stax)

Bruce Foxton has always lived in the shadow of the Jam or, more specifically, Paul 

Weller, his former friend and bandmate who left him in the lurch when he split up the 

punk trio at the height of their powers in 1982. Foxton released a solo album called Touch 

Sensitive in 1983, but had trouble gaining traction on his own, so he headed on out to Stiff 

Little Fingers, where he stayed for 15 years. After a Jam reunion looked like an 

impossibility when Weller made a smashing comeback in the '90s, Foxton assembled the 

tribute band From the Jam with drummer Rick Buckler, a move that upset Weller and 

made frosty relations even chillier. But life is messy. In 2009, Foxton lost his wife Pat to 

cancer, and Weller lost his father, two life-changing events that sparked a reconciliation 

between the bandmates, leading to Foxton appearing on Paul's 2010 album Wake Up the 

Nation and in 2012, Back in the Room, Bruce's first album in nearly 30 years, and one that 

features Weller on several songs. Often, it sounds as if Weller is all over Back in the Room, 

which is partially due to the striking vocal similarities of Foxton's lead singer Russell 

Hastings -- he was the frontman in From the Jam -- but also in how Bruce has designed the 

album as something similar to Paul's '90s work. Sure, there's an element of latter-day Jam 

here -- the Tamla/Motown bounce of "Reflection" could have fit onto The Gift -- but this is 

muscular trad rock -- Beatles hooks as played by Humble Pie, taking a brief respite from 

the heavy soul to indulge in pastoral folk. It may be familiar but it's executed sharply; 

Foxton and his band seem invigorated by playing new material and those new songs are 

solid, holding their own next to Weller's late-'90s work. 

Stephen Thomas Erlewine 

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