HMV’s acclaimed 'my inspiration' campaign – where artists reference a song or lyric that has inspired them, is to be taken to a new level with the first-ever album compilation of 'my inspiration' covers.
Having spent 10 years being beaten with a big stick marked ‘press’, Stereophonics found themselves in the rather strange position of being quite liked a couple of years ago, as they hinted at bringing a modern edge to their classic rock sound. Unfortunately, Kelly Jones has turned on his heels and retreated. ‘It Means Nothing’ is a big-hearted ballad that isn’t the most heinous thing out there, but doesn’t exactly set the world alight either. Business as usual then.
Say what you like about the Stereophonics – and let’s face it, the Welsh superstars have taken their share of flak over the years – but 10 years since they first emerged they’re arguably bigger than ever.
Oddly enough, the best thing about ‘Devil’ is that it sounds nothing like the Stereophonics are supposed to. It’s arena-sized rock, sure, but it’s edgy, full of filthy attitude and would beat up ‘Mr Writer’ good and proper were they to cross paths.
As the loud part of its quiet-loud-quiet formula, the chorus is a particularly storming element, with its forceful guitars able to drown out the noise of disbelievers.
One thing you could never accuse the Stereophonics of is playing to the in-crowd. From their very first album they have adopted something of an outsider status, attracting more and more of an audience as the barbs of those too cool to bother with them also grew longer. One can only assume therefore that Language, Sex, Violence, Other? sounding so distinctly of the moment has to be more through accident than design. But right from the off, the combination of power chords, throbbing keyboards, samples and beats make Language, Sex, Violence, Other? sound like a thoroughly modern rock record.
Right from the off, the combination of power chords, throbbing keyboards, samples and beats make Language, Sex, Violence, Other? sound like a thoroughly modern rock record. It also has some good songs on it too, which was kind of the whole point of the Stereophonics in the first place.
They say that you play venues like Whelan’s twice in your career – once on the way up, once in the other direction. The Stereophonics are somewhere between the two at the moment so their appearance at the Wexford St. venue has to be an unusual state of affairs. Indeed it is, part of a series of club dates designed to introduce new album Language, Sex, Violence, Other? and make the daily chore of talking to the press more bearable.
With their new album, Gotta Go There To Come Back, in the bag, Stereophonics have chosen a very special gig at the Heineken Green Energy extravaganza in Dublin, to make their return to the stage. No wonder the boys are feeling bullish! Chris Martin, Ronnie Wood, Fran Healy, Rod Stewart, Noel Gallagher, U2 and the Rolling Stones – Kelly Jones has opinions on all of them! So who’s feeling the lash of the ‘phonics frontman’s verbal assault, then?
Where other bands moan about the music industry or spend small fortunes bringing their stage designs to life, Stereophonics like to keep it nice and simple. Or at least as nice and simple as it gets when you tour with U2, get advice from Prince Charles and see Slipknot with their masks off
So Stereophonics aren’t the hippest three-piece in the world. Considering they are selling albums by the bucketload and filling venues all over Europe, I doubt they’re particularly bothered by the cool factor.
With Performance And Cocktails, Stereophonics keep on their path of American-style indie grunge. The key is Kelly Jones' vocals, which never seem to falter despite the extraordinary volume, intensity and passion with which he sings.