Stereophonics might just be one of the United Kingdom’s best-kept secrets, which is funny, because they have been around since 1992. They are the best band you’ve most likely never heard of. They have had a few minor hits, but have never reached superstardom by any means. Yet, they have had a career longer than most acts that come along.
They are an active band, consistently releasing new albums every two years throughout their career. However, one reason their latest album Graffiti On the Train has gotten so much publicity is because it marks the first time they have gone longer than two years between albums. Their last album was 2009’s Keep Calm and Carry On (QRO review).
As far as standout tracks from Graffiti On the Train go, “Catacomb” is a solid one. It is highly comparable to a Queens of the Stone Age sound with its driving drums and crunchy guitar licks. Lead singer Kelly Jones even sounds like he could double for Josh Homme as he sings over the instruments. One of the interesting things about Jones is that he can sound like different people. For instance, on “No-One’s Perfect” he sounds like a mixture of Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) and Steve Perry (Journey). One on hand, this is a cool attribute to have because it can keep the album as a whole interesting, but on the other hand it can be detrimental, as a singer wants to be highly distinguishable in his or her field.
Another noteworthy track is “Roll the Dice”. It has an oddly appealing show tune or vaudeville feel to it with the background horn and string sections throughout as well as the minor chords that are thrown in to the progression.
“In a Moment” has an electronic-rock almost Nine Inch Nails-esque feel to it, which makes for an interesting listen. It also features some good drumming by newcomer Jamie Morrison who replaced the group’s last drummer Javier Weyler last year.
Stereophonics has that quintessential ‘90s rock vibe the likes of which Oasis, Collective Soul, The Verve, The Wallflowers, and any number of other groups from that era had. That decade seems to hold particularly strong in people’s hearts, so maybe that’s why Stereophonics’ career has had the longevity it has. Regardless, they make solid rock music. Here’s hoping it won’t be another four years before we hear what they have for us next.