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STEREOPHONICS – Graffiti On The Train

| 30 May 2013 | Reply

Label: Stylus Records
Released April 2013
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
3 ½ /5

Stereophonics - Graffiti On The Train CD

Originally published in Xpress Magazine 15 May 2013

Stereophonics play to their strengths on their eighth studio album – their first since 2009’s lacklustre Keep Calm & Carry On – opening in widescreen cinematic style with the epic We Share The Same Sun. Laden with sumptuous strings, the song points at the direction of the album – big songs, big arrangements, one big eye on the pop charts to see if they can replicate their 2005 surprise hit Dakota.

Kelly Jones has always written his best songs about little tragedies – tales of suburban people next door and the trouble they get into – and the title track is another doozie of a tearjerker about a lad who dies whilst graffitiing a marriage proposal to his lover on a train.

The whole album is a smattering of the best bits of the band’s career: if you’re a fan of the band you’ll love it; if you don’t like what they do, there’s probably nothing here to convert you to the cause.

Having said that, they’ve undeniably progressed a lot since their meat-and-potatoes 1997 debut: First single In A Moment pulses with atypical beats and stabs of angular guitar, a bit-too-obvious attempt to appeal to the charts; Take Me sees Jones duetting with the breezy vocals of partner Jakki, elevating an otherwise standard song into something a bit more ambitious; Been Caught Cheating sees the band in acoustic swinging blues mode, apparently inspired by Amy Winehouse (though whether that’s musically or lyrically, is anyone’s guess).

The star of the show, as always, is Jones’ Rod Stewart-like hoarsely melodic voice, and a bonus disc edition which features alternate and stripped back versions of a clutch of the album’s tracks, throws his remarkable raw vocals into even more stark relief.

Category: CD Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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