Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Stereophonics: "Graffiti On the Train" (album review)

Sometimes a band just clings on too long, they run out of ideas and trot out the same old stuff album after album.  Sometimes, if the formula's right, they remain commercially viable.

Meet Stereophonics.  For over twenty years the band has been churning out earnest rock.  On August 20th we get the North American release of their latest opus, Graffiti On the Train.

The title track is the most damning.  Singer Kelly Jones is in full emotive mode, which is made even more painful by the cliched melodramatic strings that accompany him.

It's not the loan offender.  Far from it.  "Violins & Tambourines" is nearly comatose before erupting in a predictable crescendo.  The band's penchant for trying to make songs sound important is clear on "Roll the Dice".

The album is not without its positive moments.  The sombre duet "Take Me" is intriguing, with Jones doing a pretty good Thom Yorke impersonation.  "Been Caught Cheating" is a passable blues-inspired lament, while we get a decent rocker in "Catacombs".

The album standout is undoubtedly "Indian Summer".  It's easy to see why it was chosen as a single.  The song has a good pace with a sharp hook.

That's not enough to save the record.  Graffiti On the Train serves only to reinforce the fact that if you have one or two Stereophonics albums there's really little need to own any more.

Stereophonics play the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto on September 25th.

Best tracks: "Indian Summer", "In a Moment"

Track listing for Graffiti On the Train:
  • We Share the Same Sun
  • Graffiti On the Train
  • Indian Summer
  • Take Me
  • Catacomb
  • Roll the Dice
  • Violins & Tambourines
  • Been Caught Cheating
  • In a Moment
  • No-one's Perfect

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