Lostprophets follow a long bout of touring, writing and recording to release their fifth studio album entitled Weapons.
Lostprophets were formed in Pontypridd, South Wales, in 1997. Their line-up is Ian Watkins (vocals), Jamie Oliver (keyboards, turntables, vocals), Stuart Richardson (bass), Mike Lewis (guitars), Lee Gaze (guitars) and Luke Johnson (drums).
John Lydon knew better than most of what he spoke when in 1986, with all the emotional flexibility of a Dalek, he asserted that "anger is an energy". He might well have added that there are other forms of resentment and discontent that burn with a phosphorescence sufficient to fuel a band’s entire career. This is something about which Ponypridd’s Lostprophets are well informed.
Despite a profile large enough to fill any theatre in the United Kingdom, and an album that registered more than half a million sales in the United States – 2004’s Start Something – the perception surrounding this group is often that they appeal to fans who are little more than children – that they’re a "Kerrang! band", if you will. Unfair as this may be, Lostprophets remain a collective unlikely to be booked to appear on primetime chat shows.
A sense of working class, us-against-the-world defiance is the emotion that most defines Weapons. Whether what is known in the class war as chippiness is suitable inspiration for musicians now into their 30s is a question that can only be answered by the ear of the beholder. The case for the defence, though, is strong, not least of all because this svelte 10-song set is not lacking in conviction.
Because of its compact form and committed performances, Weapons is a release that burns brightly. Its cause is aided by the fact that Lostprophets are a quite fabulous band in motion, one equipped with not just power but also nuance. Featuring the magic ingredients of keyboardist and turntablist Jamie Oliver – a man who fills the album’s spaces with subtle shades that afford this work a depth lacking in comparable releases – and the guitar pairing of Mike Lewis and Lee Gaze, the arrangements of the sing-along-ready Another Shot and the driving Heart on Loan display in glorious Technicolor that this is a group understanding that a song can be more than played, it can also be interpreted.
In this light, Lostprophets’ grievance that theirs is a union confined to the popular but removed confines of rock’s bouncier quarters is well justified. For this is a fine album that warrants serious investigation from any and every rock circle.
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