Stereophonics, Keep the Village Alive - Album review

Download: C’est La Vie; My Hero

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The Independent Culture

The slight upturn in Stereophonics’ fortunes afforded by the more deft songwriting of 2013’s Graffiti on the Train turns out to have been just a blip in a general downward trajectory.

Kelly Jones seems particularly bereft of inspiration on Keep the Village Alive, with insipid lyric clichés harnessed to settings that resemble a swift rummage through an arena-rock record collection.

The worst offenders are probably “White Lies”, with its Edge-like arpeggiations, and “I Wanna Get Lost with You”, which takes the U2 influence further, Jones’ Bono impression expanding the empty bombast to dirigible size.

The dull outsider anthem “C’est la Vie” is better, albeit hampered by a mechanical delivery. But original ideas are thin on the ground, with “Swing Little Sister” aping INXS funk-pop. Even the more reflective “My Hero” is reminiscent of REM’s “Nightswimming”. Who do they think they are – Oasis?