Album: Stereophonics

Language. Sex. Violence. Other? V2
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The Independent Culture

This latest instalment in Stereophonics' chequered career is a bit one step forward, two steps back. Having dispensed with the services of the drummer Stuart Cable, Kelly and Richard Jones have also opted to abandon the direction pursued on 2003's You Gotta Go There to Come Back - which is a pity, as that album's Rolling Stones/Black Crowes leanings displayed a new side to the band that proved more attractive to those who, like me, had been previously left unmoved by them. For this follow-up, they decided to revert to the more direct, basic style of their earlier albums, polishing their raw rock riffs with the fund of studio smarts they'd built up over their career. The directness is signalled in the one-word track-titles - "Girl", "Devil", "Brother", "Lolita", etc - while the studio sophistication makes itself felt in devices such as the arpeggiated guitar chops that give "Rewind" its U2-esque manner, and the way that the modulating two-note piano figure of "Devil" is gradually swollen with a

This latest instalment in Stereophonics' chequered career is a bit one step forward, two steps back. Having dispensed with the services of the drummer Stuart Cable, Kelly and Richard Jones have also opted to abandon the direction pursued on 2003's You Gotta Go There to Come Back - which is a pity, as that album's Rolling Stones/Black Crowes leanings displayed a new side to the band that proved more attractive to those who, like me, had been previously left unmoved by them. For this follow-up, they decided to revert to the more direct, basic style of their earlier albums, polishing their raw rock riffs with the fund of studio smarts they'd built up over their career. The directness is signalled in the one-word track-titles - "Girl", "Devil", "Brother", "Lolita", etc - while the studio sophistication makes itself felt in devices such as the arpeggiated guitar chops that give "Rewind" its U2-esque manner, and the way that the modulating two-note piano figure of "Devil" is gradually swollen with a humming guitar clangour. But the general musical tone (not to mention the perfunctory lyrics...) is much more meat-and-spuds than before, and fails to hold one's attention much beyond the halfway point.

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