Believe it or not, there was a time when the Stereophonics were an incredibly affecting band. Their debut album, and especially the song ‘Local Boy In The Photograph’, was a raw and beautiful tribute to lost youth. And then that song became personified in the loss of their comrade in arms, former drummer Stuart Cable, who died in 2010.
Cable had become the boy in the photograph. It’s a tragic back-story that shares more than a few similarities with another Welsh band - Manic Street Preachers. Both bands eventually evolved into full-on stadium rock behemoths, losing their earlier edge.
On ‘Scream Above the Sounds’, Stereophonics don’t have the lyrical potency of their earlier incarnation, often erring on the side of grand generalisation - as is the way when you have to appeal to enough people to fill your next arena tour. But frontman Kelly Jones has got one of the damn finest voices in rock ‘n’ roll, and that’s surely worth the price of admission in itself. And, regardless of whether you turn your nose up at stadium rock or not, the Stereophonics know their way around the genre better than anyone, as the weepy ‘What’s All The Fuss All About’ and the colossal ‘Caught By The Wind’ can attest.
Words: Richard Jones
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