Having spent the summer playing smaller festivals and venues, Stereophonics are now releasing their tenth studio album ‘Scream Above The Sounds’, 20 years on from their debut record. A handful of American dates lead into the new year when the band take to stages in Europe, followed by a substantial UK and Ireland arena tour.
Powered by an ear-piercing guitar line, ‘Caught By The Wind’ opens the record with the sort of accessible arena-rock the band has regularly produced for two decades. The quirky new-wave of ‘Taken A Tumble’ is fun, while ‘What’s All The Fuss About?’ is an interesting turn characterised by horns and trumpets for a sound not usually associated with the band. More familiar is the foot-tapping ‘Geronimo’, packing in attitude and a dirty sax solo, while ‘All In One Night’ launched this album campaign with its hypnotic guitar line and Kelly Jones in narrative mood.
One of the stand-out moments of Stereophonics’ latest release sees the band abandon all but a piano and Jones’ voice. ‘Before Anyone Knew Our Name’ sees the Welshman address the passing of Stuart Cable, the group’s original drummer and childhood friend. Tender and sincere, Jones transmits emotion that can only come from such a loss.
The weaker ‘Cryin’ In Your Beer’ and ‘Boy On A Bike’ are sandwiched by the enjoyable soul (and falsetto) of ‘Would You Believe?’ and ‘Elevators’, the latter being a stylistic relative of fan favourite ‘Been Caught Cheating’.
As reliable (and some would say unremarkable) as ever, Stereophonics continue their consistency for solid collections of work. Their pushing of their boundaries provides their best moments here, providing enough variation for followers from 1997 to still have interest.