sun 11/04/2021

CD: Stereophonics - Graffiti on the Train | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Stereophonics - Graffiti on the Train

CD: Stereophonics - Graffiti on the Train

Welsh pop-rockers' eighth pushes new flavours half-heartedly around the plate

Stereophonics, as smart but casual as their music

Stereophonics’ meat’n’potatoes Brit-rock is very easy to knock. So here goes. No, only kidding. Well, sort of kidding. The Welsh band were a fixture of the charts from the late Nineties until relatively recently. Initially punted hard as the first signing to Richard Branson’s V2 label, they rode out the arse end of Brit-pop and, in “Have a Nice Day”, made one of those songs that's irritatingly purpose built for ads and TV montages.

Stereophonics’ meat’n’potatoes Brit-rock is very easy to knock. So here goes. No, only kidding. Well, sort of kidding. The Welsh band were a fixture of the charts from the late Nineties until relatively recently. Initially punted hard as the first signing to Richard Branson’s V2 label, they rode out the arse end of Brit-pop and, in “Have a Nice Day”, made one of those songs that's irritatingly purpose built for ads and TV montages. Four years since parting ways with V2 after an underperforming album, they appear with the follow-up, their eighth, which occasionally spikes their usual lumpen Oasis-meets-The Faces sound with something a bit more interesting.

On the positive side, then, there’s “Catacombs”, which, albeit in a rather cleaned up way, boasts a thuggish, mantric riff with more than a smidgeon of Iggy Pop's golden years about it. It’s the album’s head-banging highlight. The epic “In A Moment” rolls along on breakbeats, sniffing tunefully around electro-rock territory that the likes of Death In Vegas and U.N.K.L.E. once made their own. “Violins and Tambourines”, a twangy slowie that grows into a pulsing Motorik drone could have been a contender too but singer Kelly Jones’ mid-Atlantic drawl knackers it.

That’s it. The rest is old-fashioned, earnest, stadium-intended dad-rock, from the tired Rod Stewart-ing of the title track to the Stones-ish blues of “Been Caught Cheating” (surely that should be “Cheatin’” for the full cod-Seventies effect?). There’s no denying Jones can write a hooky song, although his lyrics come apart, from time to time (Try this: “It was a cold September before the Indian summer/That’s the thing I remember when she gave me her number”). This is a band who once wrote a song called “Mr Writer” about music journos sneering at them and picking their music apart, so they'd undoubtedly find this review entirely predictable. Then again, with a couple of exceptions, so is their latest album.

Watch the video for "Indian Summer"

Their eighth album occasionally spikes their usual Oasis-meets-The Faces sound with something a bit more interesting

rating

Editor Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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Comments

Classic review from a bandwagon jumping journo. Mr writer was written about "a" journalist who told lies after spending time with them on tour, not ALL journalists. The new album is their most diverse and creative on years and maybe if you listened to it with a clean mind instead of rehashing the good old meat and potatoes cliches you could see that. Lazy journalism.

Cracking comments John. I think you've summed up what the majority feel whenever we're issued with these 'meat and potato' reviews. Where do all these journos study? Do they all get given the same phrase book? Boring, regurgitated and lazy. Get a real job - If you can't be assed critiquing properly then you're in the wrong game.

If you're listening to the Stereophonics by choice, you've in the wrong game. Dull, dull, dull.

If your reading a review about a band you clearly dislike your in the wrong wrong place cretin

If you're writing a comment in which you accuse someone else of being a cretin John, at least learn how to spell 'you're' correctly.

Ooooh a typo... Saddo

blah blah blah, here we go again. Lets all slag the phonics off because its the cool thing to do. John's comment's hit the nail on the head perfectly.

Wow, it's almost like a competition to see who can write the most callous, bitter and downright false review. Stereophonics have spent years working on this new album and as a long time fan this is different from any other sound they have and I love it. You on the other hand had the words "predictable" "meat and potatoes" and "could have" before you even listened to it.

Too right, you are! I'm only a casual 'phonics fan, but I'd rather read an insightful review by a fan who really knows their stuff than a journo who is grudgingly writing about something they're not interested in at all.

It's very rare that I disagree with reviews on this site, but this time I do to some degree. We are all entitled to our opinions and I don't expect everyone to like what I like but I don't go putting everything into categories for the sake of it (dad rock?). Most bands have some influences from previous musicians, it's how they interpret it. This album is different to previous ones and having seen the band perform some of the songs a few nights ago, I can definitely say it will work well with the fans on their current small venue tour. I particularly love the bluesy Been Caught Cheating as it suits Kelly's voice. The only slight criticism I would have would be Indian Summer which is a bit lightweight. Other than that, it's a winner to me.

I have to agree with 'Phonics fans above. I fully understand that, after 4 years studying journalism and getting £40k in debt that getting a job writing rehashed reviews is preferable to working in a call centre. But really, Mr Writer - even if it was about a bitter and twisted music critic - was written years ago. Probably when you were still sucking on your ma's teat. So just let it go and give the band a chance instead of plagiarising each other's critiques. I have just read 8 different reviews (yes, I'm a sad b@st@d) and each negative one uses the exact same negative terminology! Funny how the positive reviews were more eloquent and had a far wider vocabulary than 'meat and potatoes' and 'dad rock'. Kelly and the lads have obviously worked really hard on this and to just dump on that with a few sentences of flippant cliches is just not good enough and grossly unfair on them. Grow up and move on. You should all hang your heads in shame.

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