After the success of their first two albums (IN THE CITY and THIS IS THE MODERN WORLD) within the span of barely a year-and-a-half, the Jam was not as pleased as it should have been. They had been extremely successful, but clearly the band (especially Weller), was chafing at being pigeonholed as "mod" revivalists. While the Jam's first two albums were clearly influenced by the mod movement of the early '60s, Weller was far too clever a songwriter to stick to the limitations of any one genre. ALL MOD CONS is the sound not just of an English youth movement, but of an English musical tradition of literate songcraft epitomised by writers such as Ray Davies of the Kinks, whose classic song "David Watts" is covered here. Weller's usual bombast is herein subsumed by gentler, more rhapsodic concerns, and he even manages a credibly gentle love balled in "English Rose". Of course the band still offers its share of unadulterated "rock" songs, but on ALL THE MOD CONS the lyrics are more likely to address the problems of English racism ("Down In The Tube Station At Midnight") than simple boy-girl dilemmas. This album marks the maturation of a brilliant songwriter.