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Stereophonics - Scream Above The Sounds (Album Review)

Tuesday, 07 November 2017 Written by Graeme Marsh

For too long Stereophonics have been content to walk a mediocre path on their albums, even if they remain capable of conjuring belting singles. With the release of ‘Keep The Village Alive’ in 2015, though, there came a glimmer of hope.

On that LP, the band’s sixth number one in the UK, the invigorating C’est La Vie and the unexpected guitar solos of Sunny sat alongside other songs worthy of the band’s top drawer in I Wanna Get Lost With You and Mr and Mrs Smith. As a companion piece to ‘Graffiti on the Train’, it comfortably surpassed its predecessor and the future looked surprisingly bright.

‘Scream Above the Sounds’ finds the clouds gathering again. That was apparent from the arrival of the clockwatching single All in One Night, which plays out to warm chords and is so safe that it should have stabilisers.

Geronimo is another song to tread carefully, although its saxophone interludes add some colour to its otherwise monochrome inoffensiveness.

The openers - Caught By The Wind and Taken A Tumble - are radio-friendly AOR chuggers in the vein of Bryan Adams. As risk-free as these songs are, though, there’s little to actively dislike about them. That has become Kelly Jones’s forte.

There are a couple of surprises hidden away. What’s All The Fuss About? marks a detour for the band as trumpets conspire with an urgent drum pattern for an excellent, thoroughly interesting cut. On Before Anyone Knew Our Name, meanwhile, Jones pays an emotional tribute to the band’s late drummer, Stuart Cable.

It’s a poignant number featuring little more than Jones’ unmistakable vocals and a piano. “I miss you, man,” he sings on a  song that could well prove difficult to perform live.

As a whole, though, ‘Scream Above the Sounds’ is a backwards step and makes ‘Keep The Village Alive’ feel like a false dawn. The album is, predictably, brimming with inoffensive tracks that would comfortably fit mainstream radio. But with a superior forerunner still fresh in the memory, it’s particularly disappointing.

Stereophonics Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri February 23 2018 - ABERDEEN Aberdeen AECC
Sat February 24 2018 - GLASGOW SSE Hydro
Mon February 26 2018 - NOTTINGHAM Motorpoint Arena Nottingham
Tue February 27 2018 - BRIGHTON Centre
Thu March 01 2018 - BIRMINGHAM Genting Arena
Fri March 02 2018 - LONDON SSE Arena, Wembley
Sat March 03 2018 - LONDON SSE Arena, Wembley
Mon March 05 2018 - BOURNEMOUTH BIC
Tue March 06 2018 - CARDIFF Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
Wed March 07 2018 - CARDIFF Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
Fri March 09 2018 - MANCHESTER Arena
Sat March 10 2018 - LEEDS first direct Arena
Mon March 12 2018 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Metro Radio Arena
Thu March 15 2018 - BELFAST SSE Arena Belfast
Fri March 16 2018 - DUBLIN 3Arena
Sat June 02 2018 - WREXHAM Race Course Ground
Sat June 09 2018 - CARDIFF Cardiff City Stadium

Click here to compare & buy Stereophonics Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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