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Stereophonics - Oochya! (Album Review)

Friday, 18 March 2022 Written by Jacob Brookman

There is something vaguely ridiculous about Stereophonics. Even in their swaggering turn-of-the-century heyday they felt a little vintage—rolling back the years with sludgy guitar, casual rock arrangements and formulaic balladry.

Both sentimental and throwaway, frontman Kelly Jones lives in the British consciousness as a sexy-and-I-know-it pocket rocket indie troubadour—a kind-of Welsh Rod Stewart.

Their 12th studio album does not challenge these preconceptions. Opener Hanging On Your Hinges is a rasping rocker, reminding you that guitars are cool and Jones is hot before we drop into the luscious or rote—delete where appropriate—Forever.

Right Place Right Time has the same emotional impact, and Do Ya Feel My Love is even better, with a highly memorable singalong chorus. There are stories here. 

From the comic book Roy Lichtenstein cover to the dropped root notes on When You See It, ‘Oochya!’ walks us through the moves methodically, gainfully...professionally? Is there a place for Stereophonics in modern music? 

Millions of streams suggest so. They are a bit of a potboiler band and this is a bit of a potboiler album. While Damon Albarn was slagging off Taylor Swift and Liam Gallagher was busy (miraculously) not getting cancelled, the ‘phonics have been plugging away, hitting their marks, playing guitar solos…rockin’. 

‘Oochya!’ is a bang average album but it’s also squarely in the sweet spot of what could be appreciated and expected of Stereophonics. It's not going to blow anyone's mind. Would you want them to branch out and go hipster now? Thought not. 

In 20 years, when Stereophonics are still going, playing some family festival, maybe we will truly appreciate this group as solid, dependable craftsmen. ‘Oochya!’ has a thing, a moment, a feeling of suddenness, a falling away quality. A superficiality? Possibly. The emotions on display here appear truthful. They may be locked in a different moment, but they're still real, we are assured. And so it goes. There is something vaguely ridiculous about Stereophonics.

Stereophonics Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri March 18 2022 - MANCHESTER AO Arena
Sun March 20 2022 - ABERDEEN P&J Live
Mon March 21 2022 - GLASGOW OVO Hydro
Wed March 23 2022 - LEEDS first direct Arena
Thu March 24 2022 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Utilita Arena
Sat March 26 2022 - BRIGHTON Centre
Sun March 27 2022 - BOURNEMOUTH BIC
Tue March 29 2022 - LIVERPOOL M&S Bank Arena
Wed March 30 2022 - NOTTINGHAM Motorpoint Arena
Fri April 01 2022 - LONDON O2 Arena
Sat April 02 2022 - BIRMINGHAM Resorts World Arena
Fri June 17 2022 - CARDIFF Principality Stadium
Sat June 18 2022 - CARDIFF Principality Stadium
Fri August 26 2022 - PORTSMOUTH Southsea Seafront
Sun August 28 2022 - KINGHAM Alex James Farm

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