Graffiti On The Train
added: 4 Mar 2013
// release date: 4 Mar 2013 // label: STYLUS
reviewer: David Spencer
Writing the music-critic baiting Mr Writer was probably not the wisest thing for Kelly Jones to do all those years ago, and since then the reviews for Stereophonics’ albums have been noticeably cool or dismissive. Seen by some early-on as Oasis-light, and later as little better than pub rock, the band’s place has been overtaken in recent years by cleverer writers like Alex Turner or cooler rock-dance crossover bands like Kasabian – but on Graffiti On The Train they are back on top form.
As Noel Gallagher’s rejuvenation has shown there is still a hunger for good old British rock and roll and while Stereophonics are in the B league of rock bands, alongside Manic Street Preachers, they know their audience and have largely kept loyal to their original sound. Lately they have struggled to find the songs needed and have sounded stuck in third gear but on Graffiti On The Train there are three or four killer tunes that could see them back in the larger arenas.
Lead single Indian Summer is catchy pop-rock in the mold of Have A Nice Day, while also weather related is the opening We Share The Same Sun, with a faster pace but equally sing-a-long. While Catacomb and Roll the Dice fill the middle section somewhat less memorably, the songs around them offer much more. Take Me’s guest female vocal (rumoured to be Jones' wife) lends a haunting feel over a sinister sounding guitar in a 2013 version of Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue’s Where The Wild Roses Grow. There’s some impressively sung blues on Been Caught Cheating; full orchestral bombast on Violins and Tambourines, while In A Moment’s moody groove contains a superbly un-cool guitar solo.
In A Moment is perhaps the most obvious reaction to the death of former drummer Stuart Cable, and his passing has added a darker feel to Graffiti On The Train, but on the title track there is also a more grandiose and ambitious feel too. Do not expect anything profound though, as Kelly Jones has never been lyrically challenging. Then neither has Bono, and U2 have written plenty of classic rock songs. Keeping the album to a slender 10 tracks also helps to eliminate any flab and while not at the level of their first two albums, this is Stereophonics at the best since Performance and Cocktails.
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