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4.5 out of 5 stars128
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 11 May 2003
When I first got this it never left my CD player, and also after a while it does lose its impact, this is still a good quality album. There’s the fantastic “Bartender and the Thief” and “Just Looking”, as well as many unreleased tracks which are all just as good. You definitely have to be a fan of Kelly Jones’ unique voice before buying this, but as long as you are you will enjoy this pleasant and though-provoking collection from the ‘Phonics.
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on 4 October 2000
This quite truly is a fantastic cd; if you thought "Word Gets Around" was good then this will blow you away. It starts off with the lively and pacey "Roll up and Shine" which is an example of the group trying a bit too hard to be heavy rockers when Kelly Jones's vocals are far more suited to tracks like " Is Yesterday, Tomorrow, Today" and "A Minute Longer". The album is filled with fantastic tracks which with exception of just a couple especially the aforementioned "Roll up and Shine" could all have been released as single and all would have made the top twenty at least. Once again the Stereophonics have put their most famous and in my opinion best singles all together just as they did in their fantastic debut album "Word Gets Around" but don't worry as like me on hearing the album for the first time you look at the inlay and look slightly bewildered after track seven "I Wouldn't Believe Your Radio" and realise that you haven't heard of any of them; because you will be amazed at the quality not only of the songs but of Kelly's fantastic voice. The best songs from that point on are the slow and soothing "A Minute Longer" and the quick, loud and funny "T-Shirt Sun Tan" Overall this is one of the best albums of the decade and should have beaten Travis easily to the Best album at the last Brit Awards. The singles to look out for on this cd are "Hurry up and Wait", "Pick a Part That's New", "A Minute Longer" and the increadible "Just Looking" which is tihs albums answer to "Traffic" from "Word Gets Around"I would strongly advise any indie music fan to buy this. Despite the limited variation in music due to there only being three members in the group compared to that of Radiohead the tunes are catchy and the vocals impeccable.
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on 17 January 2011
Back in 1999, Rock was oficially dead. Star of the moment Marilyn Manson even said it, right? Wrong. This was largely because of the lack of any real talent circulating the rock scene, resulting in bands which purely focussed on image. Stereophonics represented everything which the rock scene was NOT.

A normal band from a small town, on their debut they sang about stories from their small town and it became a surprise smash hit because of it's raw honesty, lack of self hype and above all the quality of the music itself. By the time they followed it up two years later, many weren't sure what to expect. They need not have worried.

'Performance & Cocktails' is the LP where Stereophonics morphed from rock newcomers to stars. They took off and never looked back. As "Kerrang!"'s review of this LP read simply, "Watch them fly now!". And they did. The songwriting skills of Jones are out in force on this album and we get to see something which the band have never been able to replicate since; an album which shows both sides of the band and never let's the listener lose interest at all.

What stood out on the debut album among the rockers were the personal acoustic numbers which Jones put together and you'll be pleased to know this is an avenue he travelled down on this LP a lot more. Don't worry, there are still rockers too. The most amazing part is that there is not one weak song on the entire LP. "Roll Up And Shine" opens the album with a jangly edge and Jones' hacksaw rock voice is perfectly suited to this type of sound, the lyrics self assessing the 'dead' rock scene and, to a certain extent, helping it come back to life. The standout tracks feature "Bartender And The Thief" which has a heavy Motorhead inspired guitar riff and contrasts beautifully with the acapello "Just Looking" (a track dealing with the alarming way society had began thinking in the materialistic "I want it all" mindset which continues today). We also hear the stark contrast of tracks like "She Takes Her Clothes Off", a heartfelt tale of a former glamour model past her prime. One of Jones' best skills is to combine dark lyrics with surprisingly upbeat rythms which fool the listener into feelgood mode whilst he delivers cynical swipes at the real world, this is present on the celebrity culture based "I Wouldn't Believe Your Radio" and is a skill he would later go on to perfect with "Have A Nice Day".

When listening to a good songwiter you'll instantly think you have heard the tune before, it becomes instantly familiar and never leaves your head. A prime example here would be the great "A Minute Longer" or the feel-good "I wouldn't believe your radio", which makes it hard to believe that in 50 years of rock music nobody had previously penned this exquisitely simple yet addictive tune. That's the beauty of Kelly Jones' songwriting, and something which would temporarily leave the band after this album.

One trademark of the band has been ending an LP on a haunting note, and here we get the piano driven epic "I Stopped To Fill My Car Up", a short story with a twist that becomes more powerful as the song moves on.

'Performance & Cocktails' is a very accomplished record indeed, one which delivers on all the promise shown on their debut LP released two years prior. However it didn't come without a few critics along the way, as with most things in life. The rock scene is one of the worst for it's "build them up, shoot them down" mentality, i.e. people who only like a band when they are new and instantly dislike them when they are liked by the masses, and this hit the band when 'Performance...' went on to establish itself as a chart topper. However any rock critic worth his salt will agree that this is the LP where Stereophonics took their art to the big stage. The quality of their first 2 records was so high that the band found their next two albums to be a difficult stage in their career before bouncing back in 2005.

'Performance & Cocktails' is, to this day, the best overall Stereophonics album.
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on 12 March 2002
An album to cheer me up from the dullest of days, Performance and Cocktails never fails to please me.
'The Bartender & The Thief' is the most surprising piece of heavy metal i've heard, with ridiculous lyrics about "robbing the graves of bodies dismembered" and a punching guitar, it starts quick and finishes just as you begin to enjoy it - a classic.
The mellower sound of 'Hurry Up And Wait' might be repetitive but the quick paced lyrics make up for this.
'Pick A Part That's New' is my favourite track on the album: it's bright, cheery and has the most amazing guitar riff and is one of those great songs that can be heard again and again without becoming boring.
'Just Looking' is beautiful, 'Half of The Lies' is rocking, 'I Wouldn't Believe...' is a classic sing-along track, 'A Minute Longer' is full of longing and desire with, probably, Kelly's best vocal performance on the album.
As the album draws to a close, the songs don't disappoint and even the slow 'I Stopped To Fill My Car Up' doesn't ruin an amazing album.
If I had to chose my top ten albums today, this would definitely be there.
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on 10 April 2000
Described as a cross between rock and indie, the Stereophonics are probably the biggest thing to come out of Wales since Tom Jones and rugby, even if they haven't yet had all the credit they're due. From the unbelievable guitar rifts of Roll Up and Shine to the mellow sound of Just Looking, this album is a fantastic blend of great lyrics, amazing music and Kelly Jones' brilliant voice. It's the only album I own which I love every single song on.
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on 8 April 2010
A brilliant album and one of the stand out album's of the 90's. A very fast moving, rock album and even thou it's hard to pick there best album I certaily think it's up there (in my humble opion there best). I can't pick a bad song out of this but The Bartender and the Thief is one of the best. This is one of the only album's that I can actually say I think every single song is brilliant. A must buy. It is great, trust me.
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on 7 August 2006
My first Stereophonics album when i was about 14. Because of this i will always owe alot to this record but it is hard to pick a favourite because of listening to them all so much. The first track, 'Roll up and Shine' Is made up of a great riff and a very drag style (even by Kelly's standards). What i love about this album is when i am listening to it i feel the guys have enjoyed recording it and every song manages to sound natural and footloose aswell as being worked upon and perfected. 'Just Looking' will live on as a classic and 'I Stopped to Fill My Car Up' is still one of the most interesting and uplifting songs i have ever heard. A crucial part of my stereophonics collection.
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on 28 January 2001
After being brought up on a daily dosage of great rock artists such as Meatloaf, Dire Straits, Black Sabbath and many more i thought that the glory days of british and american rock was over. That is until i heard Sterophonics. The first album Word gets around really made me like the band, and i couldn't wait for the next album. The album is just pure genius, i am listing to it as i write this review. What can you say in 1000 words? Other than the fact it is just brilliant. My favourite track is, is yesterday,tommorow,Today along with the execellent Bartender and the thief, while a minute longer comes third. It is one of the few albums of morden day artists that i will listen to over and over agian until i have earach. Kelly's voice is so smooth and easy that it is almost hypnitising. I dont think that they can beat this album, but then again i tbought the same of the first. Well done boys for an excellent album and may there be more like it.I might be biased being welsh but i think that any one in Britain can relate to their music. I would recomnd this album to any with the money to buy it. Long live the phonics.
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on 22 December 2001
Brilliant! This word sums up the whole album. If you like rock or indie music buy this post haste. It is wonderfully varied from the rockin tunes such as 'the bartender and the thief' and 'T-shirt sun tan' to the mellow tunes such as 'Hurry up and wait' or 'Just looking' they are all some of the finest songs around. Buy it!
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on 11 January 2002
Stereophonics have yet to disappoint me, and I hope it stays that way. I'm only 14, so more "mature" 'phonics fans may find me a tad patronising! Anyway. "Performance and Cocktails" is that sort of rare album in that the more one listens to it, the MORE one enjoys it and soon finds oneslef picking out particular snippets of songs that are simply great and looking forward to them every time you listen."The Bartender and the Thief" is a classic, and at the minute I am trying to get guitar tabs for it. "Hurry up and Wait" and "Just Looking" are even more seldomly frequented as anything less than geniously written and passionately played,and if you haven't yet been to a gig, these songs with galvinise you as a Stereophonics fan. T-Shirt Suntan and Plastic California are a little less heart-felt but are a healthily cynical speculation on less mundane events and individuals. Finally, "Stopped to fill my car up" is wonderfully worded and is a relaxing song that raises one to a level of complete satisfaction after previously rocking along to "The Bartender and the Thief" earlier on!

That's my review, and I hope I have broadcasted this wonderful album accordingly, if not to everybody, then at least to those of my age group.
Thank you.
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