The last Stereophonics album is called Graffiti On The Train, and it was out on the 4th of March 2013. This may be the most awaited record from their discography, as they usually release a new album every couple of years, while this took four. So, let’s just say that it was about time!
I discovered Stereophonics back in 2006. For some reason I never really checked them out before then, maybe because I had the feeling that they were too commercial. Than I found out that they had so many great songs, and really got into them, to the point that I quickly owned their complete discography, b-sides and rarities included. That to say that I was really looking forward for their new record to be released.
I got Graffiti On The Train right away, and listened to it for a few days before writing this review. I would say that the album is not bad at all, but to be honest, I feel like it misses a few more songs à-la-Stereophonics, maybe an “intimate” one in the fashion of It Means Nothing or Could You Be The One, and a “happy” one like Innocent or many others they wrote.
Besides that, most of the songs keep growing on me. I’d say that all in all the album is definitely more downbeat than their previous ones. A little darker in a way, but not dark enough to make it really stand out from their discography as an unique piece of work.
My favourite song so far is the opening one, We Share The Same Sun, with its escalating and alternating structure. Another one that I love is the title track, Graffiti On The Train, slow and dramatic, with a great guitar solo at the end of the song, backgrounded by beautiful violins.
Indian Summer is the lead single, and got a nice going, surely the most catchy one of the album. Take Me couples well with the title track, I think, and it features an unexpected sensual female voice (still don’t know to whom it belongs to), which brings a nice dimension to the song.
Catacomb is the fast-track of the album and surely the most dynamic and rockin’ of the lot (they needed one, right?). Roll The Dice and Violins And Tambourines got a promising beginning but sadly, they both don’t seem to lead anywhere, or at the least not where I’d like them to, and for that reason they’re my least favourites.
Than you have Been Caught Cheating, which is a bluesy kind of song with an old taste, and I honestly think it would have been more appropriate if it was released as a b-side or something, because it doesn’t actually seem to fit with the rest of the songs in the album. About this one, I’ve found out in an article from the NME that the song was actually wrote by Kelly Jones (the singer) for Amy Winehouse but he never managed to send it her, even if she was all for it. Knowing that, it actually makes more sense for this song to be included in the album, as it can be considered a tribute to the singer who left us.
The last two songs are more to my liking. In A Moment is a very nice one, and I suspect it could be released as a single. No-One’s Perfect is a very quiet and soft lullaby song, perfect in its minimalism, and it makes Kelly Jones’ beautiful voice stand out.
A deluxe version of the album includes a bonus track, Overland, and a few remixes or alternate version of some of the songs.
All in all, I got mixed feelings about the album, but I stay on my first position: I expected a little more from this record, especially considering the four years of waiting. Probably if you listen to it without being an established Stereophonics fan, you’ll find the album to be a great one, but unfortunately for me, the level of disappointment is always proportional to the level of expectations, and I had set high ones for this album. However, I will still listen with great pleasure to the songs that I do like from this record, and will obviously keep loving this band.
Here’s the tracklist for Graffiti On The Train:
- We Share The Same Sun
- Graffiti On The Train
- Indian Summer
- Take Me
- Roll The Dice
- Violins And Tambourines
- Been Caught Cheating
- In A Moment
- No-One’s Perfect