8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 19 July 2005
If you're new to the Stereophonics, you may not have heard their debut. They didn't get huge until 'The Bartender and the Thief' came out. If you haven't heard it, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it as its by far their best album.
Its quite a raw and rocky sound, but the phonics have never been able to match the raw energy of this album. The songwriting is open and honest and guitars loud. Anyone who saw Live8 will testify that 'Local Boy in the Photograph' went down a storm and thats the kind of album this is.
If you've ever liked a Stereophonics tune and you don't have this buy it now.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2001
This collection of songs is undoubtedly one of the greatest compilations of inventive guitar based songs. Every track on this recording has feeling, power, and emotion in the lyrics backed up by some of the most original sounds in recent years. This album should have been heralded a classic and the 'Phonics forever immortalised but unfortunately most people only started noticing after Performance and Cocktails (another great album) Listen to songs such as Traffic and Billy Davy's and you'll realise how slow ballads should be written.. And what can i say about all the rest How about awesome! I'm leaving the best to last though as i don't think there's ever been a better song written than Same Sized Feet which is absolutely spectacular as are the last three songs on the album. If you don't already own it...buy it...NOW!!!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 12 July 2005
I am a huge phonics fan, and i can safely say this is my favourite of the lot. It is incredibly under-rated, and should be recognised as a fine piece of work. Its rockier, the lyrics are just amazing and it reflects an original theme. Fantastic. Here are the songs and a snippet of each-
A thousand trees- Clever piece of pop rock and was happy 2 learn this was released as a single.
Looks like chaplin- Bit more heavier than thousand trees, short n sweet. Its quite catchy
More life in a tramps vest- Another catchy rock song. Quite simple too
Local boy in the photograph- Amazing, it has a clever story and very powerful. Some sweet riffs as well.
Traffic- Here is the slow song that you get. Again clever, not really that attention grapsing
Not up to you- I would compare this to thousand trees, it follow the same path. A bit more poppy then others.
Check my eyelids for holes- A lot like "more life.." quite amplified and quite funky
Same size feet- My favourite phonics song ever, and i hope you agree. It has the best lyrics i have heard in a long time, if you notice the guitar riffs are just like oasis' 'hindu times'
Last of the big time drinkers- kinda like more life in a tramps vest, follows the same pattern and sadly no originality. Good though.
Goldfish bowl- Another clever song, its simple and not as rocked up as its brothers.
Too many sandiwches- Some weird lyrics going on here! I adore this song, stamp it rock/pop.
Billy davey's daughter- A slow accoustic to close the curtains. Wonderful and the lyrics are very powerful.
I urge you to buy this album, even if you aren't a phonics fan yet into the genre's i have explained. Its nice to have on your shelf
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 25 August 2005
To really appreciate the Stereophonics, you need to listen to their later albums, fall in love with them and then come back to their roots. It's not that the later albums are bad, just that this album is very, very good, and the band change where they're coming from over time.
If you listen to this first, you'll expect them to always be highly-energetic and insightful rock. But they change, Kelly Jones maturing and writing more about immediate personal experiences (such as the last, very sad tracks of "You Gotta Go There To Come Back", full of regrets). Here, he's writing from a younger perspective, but in tracks like "Billy Daveys Daughter", you can see the sheer poetic and empathic talent of the man.
If you *DO* come to this album from the later ones, stick with it: it will grow on you. If you go forward, don't expect them to write the same material; they don't. That's why the Stereophonics are one of the greatest bands of our time. Take them for what they are: very, very good.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2005
When i purchased this album it took me about a year before i got round to listening to it. I simply put them down as another band on the post-britpop bandwagon that would simply sound like everybody else. All i can do now is apologise as i realised after finally giving it the time of day that this album is simply, a cut above the rest in terms of what was being released then and now.
Every track is phenominal, kelly jones' voice so distinctive yet brilliant, and the whole album contains a power and aggression that neither of their next 3 albums was able to match. I will always and forever put this album in my top 3 of all time just on the basis that there really is not a bad song on it.
There are so many reviews out there that blow smoke up average bands releasing mediocore albums but please do not even dare to class this as one of them considering i'm probably the most sceptical person on the planet in terms of music.
All i will you leave you with is how the hell this album didn't make the phonics the biggest rock band on the planet will forever remain a mystery to me!
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 27 September 2000
These Cwmwman boys prove that Wales isn't all choir boys and Tom Jones! Vocalist and Lead Guitarist, Kelly Jones penned the lyrics for this album whilst he worked on a fruit and veg store in his home town, overhearing conversations and observing people from all walks of life passing by. The grittiness of the lyrics combined with Kelly's gruff vocals are truly amazing - but it's not all indie/rock. The album is a fine mix of up-tempo and slow-tempo songs, 'Tramps Vest' will have you jumping up and down but if you want something more mellow 'Traffic' has to be one of the best Rock Ballads of all time. It's one of those albums where it is hard to pick a favourite song because they are all so damn good - so add this album to your collection, you definately won't regret it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 April 2000
Cataclysmic. My favourite album of all time! Surely no other debut album - and very VERY few follow ups can be as monumental as this! The whole album is capable of morphing itself to your mood - all full of meaning yet with the music to make ya sway, tap, mosh or just croon along to (rather badly in my case). "A thousand Trees" and "Local Boy in the Photograph* do, as many of Kelly Jones' songs, tell a meaningful story backed up by the powerful, perfectly apt and perfectly entuned music from Richard and Stuart. Other memorable tracks are Traffic, Check my Eyelids for holes and the honky tonky piano playing "last of the big time drinkers".I cannot possibly recommend this album enough or do justice to it! If you only buy one CD/Vinyl/THING this millenia, let it be this. And see 'em live if ya can.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Redemption at last. Every new Stereophonics album has enhanced their popularity and sales, while the actual content has sharply declined in quality. Tired third album Just Enough Education To Perform (2001) led to them being hailed as one of Britain's biggest bands, with the UK top 5 success of singles 'Mr Writer', 'Have A Nice Day' and the sensitive cover of Rod Stewart's 'Handbags and Gladrags'. Apart from the quality of a few tracks, Just Enough Education... was an exceptionally poor output from a band who proved their worth on this dazzling rockfest. Second album Performance and Cocktails (1999) was initially held as their best, most accessible collection to date - but recent opinion has shifted considerably. Although accomplished in its own right and an admirable sister album to the debut, Performance and Cocktails is firmly overshadowed by the enduring appeal of Word Gets Around, which holds all the unpretentious components that make The Stereophonics one of Britain's best bands of the last decade.
Just Enough Education... did what so many British bands have been tempted to do: to deliberately 'Americanize' their style to tap into the lucrative market across the lake. So it was successful for Bowie - what then? Name-checking San Francisco and being the latest to ponder Kennedy's assassination does not good music make, as the 'Phonics have found to their dismay. Word Gets Around's success bred on regional nostalgia for their small town Welsh home, with profound yet hardly world-changing local incidents the themes. One can't help but feel the grief of Billy Davey as 'Phonics lead singer Kelly Jones chronicles his daughter's tragic death (in 'Billy Daveys Daughter'): it is hardly on the same worldwide level as Kennedy's death, and so much the better. Similarly, standout track Local Boy In The Photograph relates the second-hand memories of a boy's suicide on the railroad with the utmost poignancy: 'He'll always be 23/Yet the train runs on and on/Past the place they found his clothing'.
Death is a main theme - it surfaces again in 'Same Size Feet' and 'Looks Like Chaplin' - but the pumping rock pace never permits morbidity. Instead, nostalgic yearning and perhaps a lament for the disappearing small town life - a decidedly unusual premise for a rock band - are the implied main concerns. 'Last of the Big Time Drinkers' ('I don't need to eat or sleep a wink at the weekend/just rot my guts and I can't wait for my next drink') is deeply ironic and satirical in its approach, yet is emblematic of further remorse for the increasing imposition of modernity, as pondered in a bewildered fashion in the slow tempo 'Traffic'. 'We all face the same way/Still it takes all day...Is anyone going anywhere?/Everybody's gotta be somewhere.' And just to confirm it all, the album is dedicated 'to the people of Cwmaman: "keep the village alive".
Musically, The Stereophonics are nothing new, as gritty rock songs with reference points such as the Rolling Stones, Jam, Nirvana and early Who have been tried with varying degrees of success by countless bands. However, it is not just the unusual song writing themes that set them apart. Irresistible hooks are rampant with dynamism unmatched, but it is the gravel-in-the-throat vocals of Kelly Jones that make their compositions so arresting. With a delivery matched in modern times only by Anthony Keidis (of Red Hot Chili Peppers' fame), Jones' grate (think Rod Stewart with brawn and vigour) quite simply makes many of the tracks his own - 'More Life In A Tramps Vest' and 'Check My Eyelids For Holes' are fine examples.
This album is here not through accident or personal favouritism (although you can undoubtedly see my fondness for this record). Its legend has grown - and will continue to grow - as it gains more exposure. Word Gets Around comes highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 February 2000
Well, well, well, isn't this impressive! as Stuart Cable would say. What can I say that will do this album justice. It is top! Songs like Last of The Big Time Drinkers, A Thousand Trees, More Life in a Tramps Vest, Traffic, Same Size Feet and Too Many Sandwiches just blow you away. This is much better and much heavier than Performance and Cocktails and is a must buy for anyone. 5 stars is an understatement. The tracks are easy to learn and after a couple of plays, you'll find yourself bouncing in your bedroom! The lyrics are inspired and this is truly Kelly Jones and co at their best. In my view this is the best album ever!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 31 December 2003
The first album of the Stereophonics, packed with their original sound which is somewhat missed from their latest album. This first album is filled with those great rock songs polished off with the sexy vocals of Kelly Jones. He is a great song writer and his vocals can make any song his own. i think my favourite thing about this album is its personal touch, most of the songs are written from personal experience and if not then in the style of personal experience,which i think adds a friendly atmosphere. My personal favourite song on this album is either 'More life in a Tramps Vest' or 'Goldfish Bowl'.