Monday 18 February 2013 Updated: 27/02 17:23
Graffiti On The Train
If you're looking for something different from the eighth studio album by Kelly Jones and co you will be disappointed.
If, like me, you want to hear the Stereophonics as you've been listening to them for the past 15 years you will be far from disappointed.
There is nothing fundamentally different on here from what they have been producing since Word Gets Around in 1997. But that is the beauty of this album.
The problem Stereophonics have faced over the years is their debut album was too good. They wanted, and to make it probably needed, to arrive on the scene with a bang. And boy they did.
And while I don't think they peaked back then, they simply set themselves high standards they probably would never struggle to match, but would find very hard to top.
What is clear on throughout Graffiti On The Train is evidence of Jones' distinctive voice mellowing over the years, there are many more melodic tunes than tub-thumbing rock tunes belted out by the front man.
For a band which has enjoyed album chart success with five of its previous seven albums getting to number one, they have struggled to produce chart-topping singles; their first and only being Dakota in 2005.
But this features some of their most charty songs ever - track three Indian Summer, the first single off the album which is to be released on February 25, is as catchy a tune as you'll have heard in the number one spot recently.
There are some songs, notably the title track, which verge on power ballads, but sung by Jones they're cool. There is real emotion in track six, Roll the Dice. There is even a bit of Blues on track eight Been Caught Cheating.
Track seven Violins and Tambourines could easily be a James Bond theme tune, no surprise that it's one of many which include strings arrangements by David Arnold who has been involved in number 007 films.
Stereophonics' line up has changed many times, but what has stayed the same is the loyal fan base, everyone of whom will buy this album and get many hours of enjoyment out of listening to another sure-fire number one.
Graffiti On The Train is released on March 4. According to Jones, who went in the recording studio with 40 songs, volume two will be released sometime next year.
Review by Christopher Smith
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