After four years, the Welsh rock stars finally released what is their eighth studio album. Graffiti on the Train came out not too long ago, on the 4th March this year and features not only classic Stereophonic sounds but also some new adventures for them too.
Opening with what has to be the best ever, an acoustic guitar picks its way into We Share The Same Sun which is one of the more prominent songs on the album. The chorus is simple but massively powerful from which follows a great song that stays strong right until the last note. Kelly Jones’ distinct vocals really kick off throughout and is only bettered by the remaining songs on offer.
Graffiti on the Train continues where the sun left off and sets a more darkened mood like those from Billy Davies Daughter (Word Gets Around, 1997) and I Stopped to Fill My Car Up (Performance and Cocktails, 1999). It promotes great use of instruments and makes the most of Jones’ voice before going straight into the second single which was released towards the end of January. It’s an exciting song with a powerful chorus similar to that from song one with some great memorable lyrics. These three songs were exactly what I was expecting from the band when I first listened to the album unlike the latin sounding Take Me.
More classic Stereophonics can be found next in Catabomb and Roll The Dice with sounds similar to those from their Words Gets Around and Just Enough Education to Perform (JEEP) albums.
The song Violins and Tambourines was offered to fans as a free download before the two singles was released and seemed to suggest the album was going to reflect on darker moods – which is exactly right. It begins with a repetitive guitar and vocals with additional string instruments setting the particular mood and a constant tambourine beat sets the song on edge. About half way through, the song builds into a magnificent explosion of sound with use of electric guitar and the bands new drummer, Jamie Morrison from the Noisettes.
A bluesy sounding Been Caught Cheating follows and is quite a contrast to the previous songs and the single that follows, In A Moment. Its the first single from the moment and like Violins and Tambourines, sets a darkened mood over the album. Another example of a great use of instruments over Jones’ vocals can be found here. My only criticism is that it maybe kicks off a little early, but it is a great new step for the band who’s new sounds are creeping through.
The final two songs are more examples of a new tone for the band, with No-ones Perfect and Zoe. Firstly, No-ones Perfect is another slower song that feels to go back to the bands previous album, Keep Calm And Carry On which was released four years ago in 2009. The four year gap is the biggest gap between albums as every other one has been after two years. Zoe has similar sounds to that of Devil (Language Sex Violence Other, 2005) but is themed more like Jones’ solo album Only The Names Have Been Changed where each of the songs are titled by girls names.
The band have then included a stripped down version of Graffiti on the Train and a remix of In A Moment – neither of which interested me much but on the whole, I was mightily impressed with this album and totally recommend it to everyone.