One of Britain’s finest homegrown talents, Stereophonics, have returned with a self-released album and it is something rather magical to listen to.
Following several months of teasing fans with taster tracks from the album; Graffiti On The Train is finally released on March 4th and although it deviates from what you’d typically expect of a Stereophonics release, their new darker sound does not disappoint. Heartfelt stories are told throughout this album with poignant lyrics, their signature splattering of rock finesse and frontman Kelly Jones’ gorgeous gravelly tones. Meanwhile, this time around they have also brought on board a beautiful orchestral feel to certain parts, thanks to a collabaration with James Bond scorer David Arnold.
Album opener, We Share The Same Sun eases the listener into the new LP with something familiar, as this sounds very much like the traditional Stereophonics sound that has been filling our airwaves for sixteen years. This is also shadowed in a few other tracks from the album, Indian Summer and Catacomb; which proves that despite the experimental nature in which this album was created, the band haven’t entirely ditched their roots.
David Arnold’s orchestral influence can be found strongly in three 007-esque tracks; Violins and Tamborines, Roll The Dice and the title track,Graffiti On The Train. These songs combine beautifully mellow rock, Kelly’s sultry sexy vocals and uplifting string and brass sections to create something so ridiculously epic and cinematic that they are absolute masterpieces. In particular, I love the breakdown towards the end of Violins and Tamborines, as this makes an otherwise laid back track develop into something dramatic and empowering in a similar manner to Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain.
Two more songs on this album that seem to deviate from the norm are the stripped back and ever so bluesy Been Caught Cheating, the electronic influenced In A Moment, and the latin infused Take Me. All of these tracks are rather different to anything that I have heard on any previous Stereophonics albums and perfectly showcase a darker and more mature edge to the band, perhaps tipping their hats to Rod Stewart with Been Caught Cheating and Radiohead with In A Moment.
Graffiti On The Train concludes with a relaxing rock lullaby in the form of No One’s Perfect. At first listen, I thought this was a tiny bit too relaxing and somewhat dull, but it has proved itself as a grower as I find myself liking this more and more each time I listen to it. With twinkling piano and lyrics about the human condition that everyone can relate to at certain points during their life, I can imagine that everyone will be singing along to this by the time the tour comes around and it may well even make its way into the fans’ favourites.