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Stereophonics - Kind (Album Review)

Tuesday, 29 October 2019 Written by Graeme Marsh

It seems almost inevitable that a band’s vocalist will at some stage attempt to launch a solo career. Stereophonics’ Kelly Jones went that way in 2007 with the release of ‘Only the Names Have Been Changed’ but, surprisingly, there’s been no hint of a follow up since.

His band, though, have kept the albums coming. ‘Kind’ is their sixth since his only solo collection and their 11th overall. In all honesty, these efforts vary in quality considerably. But no matter how the tracks were eventually fleshed out, Jones’s almost perfect soft-rock voice and admirable songwriting abilities always underpinned them.

‘Kind’ was recorded in just 11 days in Wiltshire with co-producer producer George Drakoulias and came to be after Jones contemplated quitting, feeling burnt out at the culmination of 2018’s extensive touring schedule. Suitably, the songs on ‘Kind’ have a certain vulnerability to them.

There are references to falling dotting the single Fly Like An Eagle as well as the country-tinged Stitches, and both also display a trend that runs throughout the collection.

You could point the finger at a little familiarity—Stitches bears an uncanny resemblance to Oasis’s Don’t Look Back in Anger at one specific point—but that’s not the main issue with ‘Kind’. Neither is the uncomfortably warbled, overcooked vocal style Jones is starting to adopt.

The issue is that the majority of the tracks are screaming out to be acoustic songs that don’t need the full band treatment. In fact only the opener I Just Wanted the Goods, which takes three minutes to go anywhere of note, Bust This Town, where a Wurtlitzer inevitably recalls Mr Writer, and the bang average Don’t Let the Devil Take Another Day that attempt to rock out.

This Life Ain’t Easy is comfortably the best track here, and this time it stays as a minimalist piano and acoustic-based number that recalls Traffic. Hungover For You would also clearly benefit from being left in a more basic state because it’s just not a powerful enough ‘band’ cut when compared to what Stereophonics have produced together in the past.

In June and September this year, Jones set out on solo tours. It’s baffling as to why the timing of these runs wasn’t better aligned to the release of ‘Kind’ and the record, minus the band, instead billed as his second collection under his own name. Frustratingly, instead of a top drawer solo album we are instead left with a mundane Stereophonics release that is neither here nor there.

Stereophonics Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat January 18 2020 - LIVERPOOL Liverpool Su Mountford Hall
Sun January 19 2020 - LEEDS O2 Academy Leeds
Fri February 28 2020 - SHEFFIELD FlyDSA Arena - Sheffield
Sat February 29 2020 - BIRMINGHAM Arena Birmingham
Mon March 02 2020 - BRIGHTON Centre
Tue March 03 2020 - BOURNEMOUTH BIC
Fri March 06 2020 - LONDON O2
Sat March 07 2020 - NOTTINGHAM Motorpoint Arena Nottingham
Mon March 09 2020 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Utilita Arena
Tue March 10 2020 - ABERDEEN P&J Live, Aberdeen
Wed March 11 2020 - GLASGOW SSE Hydro
Fri March 13 2020 - MANCHESTER Arena
Sat March 14 2020 - CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena Cardiff
Sun March 15 2020 - CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena Cardiff

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

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