I would believe your radio

It’s finally here, the TENTH studio album from the legendary band Stereophonics. We explore the meaning behind some tracks and how they are still producing outstanding music.

For most people, another Stereophonics album means nothing more than one or two good songs to add to their already huge catalogue of hits, mixed with some almost too familiar sounding achy-acoustic slow numbers. However, to the loyal fan base spanning over two decades a new album means more than that. It’s about hearing the ever-present grace and ease that this legendary household rock band has managed to encapsulate and produce time and time again, but probably will still be an album that everyone else will say “What’s all the fuss about?”

Aptly that question on most people’s lips is also a title of one of the better songs on the new album, named “Scream Above The Sounds”. The fuss is all about the fact this is the tenth studio album by the Welsh group. Hosting a run time of 47 minutes and housing 11 tracks for fans to wade through. Heading already for their seventh UK number one album it’s almost a forgone conclusion that this record could be one of the best in recent times from the band.

The album certainly does scream above the current sound by opening with a massive sounding song “Caught by the wind”. Lyrically, the song isn’t the strongest they have ever written but the sound of it is huge, powerful and is a track that harnesses the anthemic melodies reminiscent of the bands best early work. It has a certainty to be an opener for the sell-out UK arena tour come the start of the New Year. Straight into the second song and by far the best in recent memory “Taken A Tumble” has a very familiar yet new flow to it, with a consistent rhythm guitar leading the way and a strong electric lick in the background producing that ‘phonics’ noise. Already receiving online plaudits as a new top ten track by the group, they could be onto a winner with this one.

Starting to slow down and show the bands experience and vast qualities is the song “All In One Night” Again lyrically, will divide fans as they are unusual, but after a good few listens it tells a story of a party, one that changes the characters’ lives in an unexpected way. The opening riff of the song is especially impressive and instantly draws you in, with synth keyboard undertones and a perfect showing of why Kelly Jones’ voice trumps most, if not all current day competitors found in the pop charts.

A stand out song, tribute and emotional number included on the album is “Before Anyone Knew Our Name” a song dedicated to original drummer Stuart Cable, who left the band in 2003 and died in 2010, when asked about the tribute Jones said, “He left in 2003, but we were still mates- there was no arguments. He died seven years ago, but he’s been on my mind every day really since then. I don’t know why it came to me now, I don’t know what it is was, but it came out on a page and I sang in front of a piano and recorded it and people heard it. They thought it was some beautiful sentiment to him and they all got a bit emotional about it.” Simplistic piano with humbling lyrics, it creates the story of the pairs’ friendship from childhood and the bands early times. The re-occurring lyric and also opening line “I miss you, man” hits home especially.

One of the songs on the album that again, has already received mass online acclaim by fans is “Geronimo” with a familiar harsher sounding voice and toe-tapping melody Jones leads us on a more classic rock anthem with jazzy undertones of rattling piano keys until about the two minute mark, where a saxophone bursts into the room carrying you over into the second half of the song.

The more safe sounding and disappointing songs on the album for me are “Chances are”, “Would You Believe?” and “Cryin’ In Your Beer”.  They don’t stand out as anything new from the band, personally. They feel almost like safe options for the rose tinted fans who won’t grumble at more of the same.

“Boy On A Bike” is the song I am undecided on, a very simple and stripped back song with nothing more than a high fretted capo, sprinkling sugar onto a few simple chords and Jones’ voice reminiscing about his life, telling a tale of him in the winter back in Wales as a boy.

The album draws to a magnificent close with “Elevators”, a very different conclusion to many of the previous works by the band. Close to nearly being a Country number with sliding acoustic twangs and almost old western undertones of heavy piano keys toward the end. The song draws a very well put together tenth album to a close.

Overall “Scream Above the Sounds” is an example of the fine songwriting and melodic mastery their fans have come to expect. There is without a doubt something for every single fan across the track list, from almost Country inspired new sounding singles to those familiar Rock anthems (and of course…Kelly Jones..alone with an acoustic guitar.) Stereophonics have delivered a very very solid release with this album.

Give it a listen and see what the fuss is about.

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