On 2005's Language. Sex. Violence. Other?, Kelly Jones' usual pot-shots were aimed at characters as one-dimensional as their song-titles: "Brother", "Doorman", etc. On Pull the Pin, the one-word titles "Stone", "Crush" and "Drowning" are used in a similarly artless manner on tracks expressing the songwriter's emotional numbness – he's like a stone, you see. Subtlety is not his strongest suit, but given the Stereophonics' basic musical approach, this is no great obstacle. Pull the Pin mostly features either retro-grunge riffs such as those driving the anti-war songs "Soldiers Make Good Targets" and "Pass the Buck", or lighter settings involving the repetition of simple guitar figures until they assume the impassive weight of mantras, as on "Bright Red Star". But whether dealing with the aftermath of the London Tube bombings in "It Means Nothing", or the stabbing of a teenager in "Daisy Lane", there's little emotional conviction in these performances, compared to the gusto with which the band celebrate bad-boy behaviour in "Bank Holiday Monday". Which suggests they should get out more, and stop gazing into the abyss.
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