It’s been 16 years since Stereophonics first released their Welsh indie rock on the world with debut album Word Gets Around. Now they’ve racked up an impressive eighth studio album, Graffiti On The Train, the first with new drummer and former Noisette, Jamie Morrison. The album features a sprinkling of classic Stereophonic numbers and of course a heavy dose of singer Kelly Jones’s signature gravelly vocals, but there’s an overall sense of the band having matured a little and venturing out to try some new musical styles.
We Share The Same Sun opens the album and is classic Stereophonics. The gentle intro of guitar picking and Jones’s delicately sultry vocals build to crashing drums as his voice picks up the pace, takes over and pulls you right in. The anthemic Indian Summer is pretty run of the mill but guaranteed to be a hit with older fans. The album’s title track and the first single, Violins And Tambourines, play the role as the album’s signature slow tracks and silent heroes, replete with beautifully crafted string sections that create a great sense of longing before trademark electric guitar riffs come in and build to epic endings.
Tracks like Take Me, Roll The Dice (clearly taking inspiration from Muse) and the bluesy Been Caught show the band trying out some new, more sophisticated styles of music that show an attempt to branch into fresh territories. In A Moment is a darkly satisfying track, while closing ballad No One’s Perfect finishes the album off nicely with an emotive long song that brings things right down and makes you want to tuck yourself into bed and nod off. This is Stereophonics doing what they do best, with a few new tricks. --- Helen Lear