Album Reviews

Stereophonics – Language. Sex. Violence. Other?

(V2) UK release date: 14 March 2005

Ahhh remember 1999? There was the Euro. Bill Clinton single-handedlypersuading sex shops to stock cigars. Gwyneth Paltrow givingthatOscar speech. Columbine. Man United doing the treble. Posh marryingBecks.Edward marrying Sophie. Guigsy and Bonehead leaving Oasis. Itwasalso the year three Welshmen trounced the charts, music channels andradiostations collectively to become the UK’s rock band du jour with theiralbumPerformance And Cocktails.

Then something happened. They started whining about the trappings oftheir illustrious fame and generally lost it a bit on 2001’S J.E.E.P.Thenone of the Welshman was told his services were no longer needed (StuartCable) by the lead Welshman (Kelly Jones). A year passed and their junkfestYou Gotta Go There To Come Back was shifted out just in time for summer2002. Now five years on, it can be confirmed that the local boy in thephotograph was indeed abducted.

Forget the obese pretentiousness of the title. Forget Kelly Jones’soverblown insistence to wail like a cat downing battery fluid. Whereare thesongs?

The first twenty minutes of LSVO judder by forgetfully. The new rockn’roll may be the new new, but it’s a no-no for theStereophonics.

Jones is desperate to branch out their sound. His vocal parts areproduced to the point you wonder whether his abductees replaced himwith anandroid. It works quite well on recent single Dakota, meshing a spaceyeighties rhythm with the patented Phonics chorus. While it is noble towantto reinvent after eight years in the business, the Stereophonics do itatodds with themselves.

Early on, Jones busies himself with the now customary session ofRodStewart karaoke. Rewind jumps back to the fringes of Joshua Treeterritory. Pedalpusher is much of the same degrading stuff Jones hasbeenputting out of late, with that painfully faux snarl. And as ever, thesongchoruses are recycled in the way the Stereophonics like to recyclethem.This just feels it was produced to deadline for the bankable springreleaseand summer tour.

But most people knew the direction the Stereophonics were takingwhenJones grew his hair and took to wearing white suits and Stetsons toshowswith a million dollar grin. If there is a saving grace – of very few -Deadhead is it, reminding you why once, the Stereophonics were sogood.

All one can do is hope – or pray if it’s your bag – the aliens willreturn the real Jones without the amnesia, clutching that great notepadof songs he always seemed to carry.

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