on 17 January 2011
Stereophonics 3rd album saw them trying to take their sound to the world, or more specifically the US, a trend which can be seen by one glance at the big tyre and 'J.E.E.P.' title. The third album is notoriously difficult for rock bands as they often have to adapt their sound to avoid being pigeonholed and this presented Stereophonics with a tough choice....
Their previous two LP's saw the band display both a fantastic ability for acoustic numbers as well as big stadium rock and 'JEEP' saw the band explore their acoustic talents a lot more. In fact, bar the opener "Vegas Two Times" we get very little electric work at all. This may disappoint some fans however they did later go onto rediscover their rock ability on their 2005 LP so all is not lost. When you take this album for what it is, it actually folds out quite nicely but does not compare to the electrifying start this group made to their career with "Word Gets Around" and "Performance & Cocktails".
They didn't help themselves too much either, with the first single "Mr. Writer" virtually killing the band's relationship with the media and heralding a slew of unfavourable reviews on the album. The track is a rant from Jones about the obsessive nature of journalists who use the "build them up, shoot them down" mentality and Jones pulls no punches, pointing out that they have no idea what they are talking about at all. From a band who had previously never been the victims of poor media attention, many rock critics saw this as a suicide move and it certainly slowed the album's media credibility, something they would not overcome until 2005's unexpected return to form "Language, Sex, Violence, Other".
The songwiting from Jones is great as ever, his cynical wit has developed into a real force and is really what holds the LP together and cements him as a great songwriter. However, no matter how great the songwriting skills or the tunes actually are, if you put an album together featuring all slow paced acoustic tracks you run the risk of becoming, well, sleepy.
This really hinders the album and at times you will be waiting for the next track to start and literally praying for Jones to crank out a hard guitar riff and let rip with his trademark hacksaw voice, but unfortunately for this LP, that moment only happens in the closing stages of the album's final song, "Rooftop".
That being said, there is more than enough quality within the acoustic tracks on display here to make any fan of Jones' softer work listen to this LP over and over again. Tracks like the catchy "Step On My Old Size Nines" and "Maybe" show why Jones is held in high regard, his ability to fuse good lyrics with simple yet effective tunes is uncanny. A fantastic cover of "Handbags And Gladrags" is also a welcome addition to the 'phonics' back catalogue.
One reason this band have established themselves so highly is their rather beautiful nature of combining dark lyrical content with strangely upbeat tunes, fooling the listener into a feel-good mood whilst Kelly Jones delivers cynical humourous lyrics about a variety of touchy subjects. This was a craft they absolutely perfected with the ludicrously catchy "Have A Nice Day", a song which went onto become a massive summer chart hit and although is recognized as a popular upbeat summer tune it actually features Jones in fine sarcastic form, singing about a taxi ride he took in the USA where he and the cab driver discussed their hates about the world including the celebrity obsessed culture, basically the exact people who were all of a sudden Stereophonics' number one fans and singing the lyrics without even knowing. Jones has to be credited with his ability to do bring the listener into the song and buy into his created world whilst he literally has his way with them, a trick which has rarely been since since Kurt Cobain's epic "Smells Like Teen Spirit" which was a tune geared against the exact people who were buying it after the band began 'trendy'.
This album does suffer termendously from lack of pace, making even quality material sound sleepy. It is in fact saved from mediocrity by it's oustanding last track, "Rooftop". Continuing Stereophonics' tradition of finishing each album on a dark track, "Rooftop" is a slow building acoustic number which generates Jones' cynical rage before exploding into a thick effects driven epic. If anything, you'll be grateful for the sound of Cable bashing his drums the way he was meant to, the way he had not done on the album so far bar the opening track, but Jones literally achieves the album's high point when "Rooftop" changes direction at the halfway point and the talented rock singer with the hacksaw vocals finally lets himself belt out a few lines. There is something truly beautiful about Kelly Jones going at full pelt with a backdrop of loud guitars, and this final track of the album serves to remind people that whilst the band have explored their acoustic side on this LP they still have a tendancy to get loud.
In hindsight, 'JEEP' is an accomplished album with several recognizable songs yet it suffers from the fact that there is no variety in the sound of the songs and no changes of pace in the album's tracklisting. This unfairly hinders it a little bit, and it remains the band's most difficult album to date. But one thing is certain, whilst the band were trying to break America with this LP they wanted to do it on their own terms and were very clear that they would change their sound for nobody.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 15 December 2001
I'm not a diehard stereophonics fan, and do not have any of their previous albums, though not for lack of hearing them. However when I heard their cover of the Rod Stuart track, I decided to bite the bullet and purchase. Definately a good move. While, like others, I am not a great fan of Mr Writer, finding it too chippy to enjoy - it sounds like Jones is really bitter, and this detracts from the music, the rest of the album is great. It is rare to find an album that you can play from beginning to end and not keep skipping songs, but if I start with track 4 (Step on my old size nines) I can quite easily listen away without fiddling with buttons. Really good for the morning after the night before, rather then the night before the morning after, but definately worth buying if you like any of the phonics recent releases - you wont be dissappointed. I have minused one star for the fact that I still haven't really listened to tracks one and two, as they didn't really grab me the first few times so I am still starting with track number four. Dont let this put you off though, as my album is in serious danger of being over-played, so I'll no doubt start listening to them soon for variation!
on 4 November 2010
I wouldn't say I'm the biggest Stereophonics fan but I have a few of their albums; not only that but I'm a big enough one to write a review for this album when I see the average rating is below four stars when it deserves at least four.
The album is a very relaxed, happy and upbeat one; this shows through in songs like Lying In The Sun, a very easy going song. The mood then changes to the slightly more serious with Mr. Writer, which was written in response to a journalist who had toured with the band and had later given them negative reviews.
Have A Nice Day is a wonderfully crafted, happy, chill-out tune that would put anyone in a good mood. Nice To Be Out is a stunning song lyrically and is a real joy to listen to and to learn the words to as well. Handbags And Gladrags and Watch Them Fly Sundays are very catchy and there's some great guitaring to be admired too. Everyday I Think Of Money slows the album down a bit, which is good; one starts to think it's a song of reflection; it's a song full of emotion and one that I've loved ever since I've had this album. Overall, it's a really good album. I'd recommened it to any lover of rock or someone who loves uplifting songs.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 February 2002
With the exception of the ubiquitous theme of Summer 2001, 'Have a Nice Day', fans of the previous two albums may find this a lttle less hardcore than the style they are used to.
However, older fans of the great Welsh band of the '80s, The Alarm, may certainly recognise a definitive influence in the gritty, 'heart and soul' tunes belted out by Kelly and the boys. A much more mature, reflective album.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 July 2001
Brilliant with some great features like songplayer and video, the cd includes acoustic versions of 'lying in the sun' and 'step on my old size nines. the cd rom also gives lyrics to all songs.the main thing is the music which is excellent, a must for any stereophonics fan. my favorite songs are 'mr writer' and 'watch them fly sundays'.the songplayer is greater for anyone learning to play the guitar
on 6 May 2003
I first heard 'Have a nice day' and thought it rocked. Mellow, everything that sounded of summer and just so damn good. So it was only a matter of time before I was a proud owner of the album. However it was around this time I discovered previous albums 'word gets around' and 'P&C' to discover how much better they are. There's nothing catchy about this album. The phonics have not lost their art for truely thoughtful and original lyrics, but the catchy, indie rock appeal has been sadly dead and buried for their new album. Suprisingly, have a nice day upped their publicity for it's slightly pop appeal, (which is probably why everyone is suddenly such a phonics fan) but everything else is a waste of time. If you're a fan, then see this album as a useful addition. But if you're trying to get to know the band from a friend who told you how great the phonics are, then don't get this one. It's boring, and the only phonics album I have where I actually skip tracks. However, I suppose the odd ones that are good are worth having after you know them well. Hardly infectious I'm afraid.
on 15 February 2002
I originally heard the first release of JEEP but was lucky enough to wait till I had some cash...finding it was re-released with EXTRA tracks!!!!!
The extra's warrant its re-release and enhance an already very good album.
If you like music to get you high...then this is not for you however...
...JEEP is slow, yet very tuneful, Kelly's vocals are full of magic, yet you might drown wondering why the sadness?
Depending on your mood, you'll like this. when you're feeling down this will strike a chord with you and help to get you back on your feet...but when you're raring to go this may not suffice.
I don't regret buying JEEP, far from it in fact and i do recommend as it's very mature and a great experience at that.
Why 4 stars and not 5?...well if you prefer louder, more jolly upbeat stuff, and I for one sure do, then JEEP's shine won't last all to long. However, despite saying that...this is a very accomplished offering from the trio...fulfilling its purpose of getting you back on your feet. Bravo indeed.
Most bands, as they evolve, begin to have a problem with consistency. Stereophonics have managed to develop the opposite problem to most, however: they are, if anything, TOO consistent. This album contains many excelent tunes, but, as in the later album, they are somewhat lost on the rather samey cloud of wallowing. This band has enormous talent, but should perhaps slow down in producing their albums, in order to give the true classics more of a look-in. Have a Nice Day, Handbags and Gladrags and Caravan Holiday are all gems: beautifully mellow vocals, and lyrics and tunes that are either touching or very, very feel-good. You do, however, find yourself waiting for these memorable few as the rest of the album flickers past.
If you want an album that you can listen to in a fairly detached way from beginning to end, this is a good purchase. If you want Stereophonics at their best (and least 'consistent') consider purchasing Word Gets Around, or waiting for a Greatest Hits to give their best songs the setting they deserve.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 27 July 2006
I know people think this is very mellow, but hey if they set out to make a mellow album then they did a dam good job! As a teen I try to keep up in the music scene with what is hot an what isn't, E.G. "Chili Peppers" good, "Pussycat Dolls" bad. I was worried that it would be a filler album because I had only heard their singles (which I loved to bits) Have a Nice Day, Mr Writer and Handbags and Gladrags. So I was very pleased when I found that there was only 1 song that I didn't like as much (but I didn't even disslike that one, "Everyday I Think of Money")
Vegas Two Times: Fantastic first song, one of the more rock orientated tracks. 8/10
Lying in the Sun: A very chilled track, some interesting lyrics. Perfect summer song. 7/10
Mr Writer: It took me a few listens to get into but could be one of the best songs on the cd. The fact that the song itself is quite different but still manages to impress. For ingenuity, 9/10
Step on My Old Size Nines: Another summery song with cheery lyrics, no glitches here that put me off. 7/10
Have a Nice Day: Brilliant song, one that you want to sing along to. It's more of an up-beat pop song than a summer track but genuine instruments, so no techno sounds (which you probably thought when I mentioned pop). 8/10
Nice To Be Out: Could be a filler but it's not, it only seems that way because it's surrounded by some very impressive tracks. This one is more mellow again, its a shorter track with another summer feel, so it's a good song that you should never tire of. 6.5/10
Handbags and Gladrags: Could be a the best song on the album, it is a cover but it is very similar to the origional Rod Stuart creation. I love this track to bits because of the fantastic use of the oboe throughout and the brass section toward the end. 10/10
Watch Them Fly Sundays: Another rock orientated track similar to the "vegas" track. The verses are quite mellow but ones you can sing to, then the rock kicks in at the chorus. Enjoyable but you may think i've been here before. Nice track by no means a filler, just not different than what you've heard previously on this album. 6.5/10
Everyday I Think Of Money: The only track I tend to skip (unless i'm in the shower), it's by no means a bad song, it has a catchy beat and very simple lyrics, so it's a marmite song, you like it or you don't. I say i like it, it's just too different to be enjoyable. (my vote) 6/10
Maybe: Quiite a mellow, summer song, one that I found you can't sing along to just because there are a lot of lyrics and it's too much effort. Maybe a filler, but I don't think so. It's just another slice of the cake, it tastes the same but it's still good. :-)(I made that up!. clever me.) 6.5/10
Caravan Holiday: Chill song, singalong song. I like it, it's short and doesn't drag. 7/10
Rooftop: Good track, not at all a filler, a more of a rock approached track, ment to wake you up after the previous chilling tracks. Liking the singing in this one. Cool style. 7.5/10
Hidden Track (Attatched to the Rooftop track): A very nice rock track, only ment for this album. A very enjoyable song. I don't know why it's a hidden track but hey, at least it's there. 8/10
Average score: 7.5/10
So not amazing but i think it's worth paying watever price it has, unless it's like £100,000, (somewhere areound £10 max). Very good album, as I said there is not one track that I disslike. Even if you are unsure, just buy it, it's going cheap. You won't be dissapointed.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 25 April 2002
Stereophonics have been one of the busiest and noisiest acts of late, playing anywhere and everywhere, pushing big singles up the charts and clocking up millions of album sales along the way. Their third album, "Just Enough Education To Perform", however, marks a change from the previous rocky style that has made them the best act to come out of Wales in recent years. Gone are the grinding guitars and fast beats of "Performance And Cocktails" and in their place is an album the Welsh trio believe to be their best yet but that's up to you.
The album still kicks off with a trademark slab of rock, the riff led "Vegas Two Times" hints at the American influences so widely spread throughout the album.
A man with a disfigured face begging on the streets in Portugal inspired the lyrics to the second track, "Lying In The Sun", a song about why people are put on this earth to be less fortunate than others. Kelly Jones said that the beggar was "the saddest thing" he'd ever seen hence the sad, mellow feel to this track.
The album then jumps to the up-tempo "Mr Writer", the first single from this album. It is perhaps the most accomplished song produced by the Stereophonics so far. It's a sarcastic comment against music critics, journalists and other people in the music industry, throbbing with steady beats and brilliant lyrics.
"Step On My Old Size Nines" and "Caravan Holiday" offer a soft and almost romantic alternative to this angst-ridden vibe, with mouth organs and slide guitars featuring heavily.
In another quite mellow track, "Everyday I Think Of Money", Kelly sings about the differences between dreams of fame and money and the reality. It tells a story of stealing a truck full of money and getting caught, proving that money can't buy you happiness.
The cool and calm "Watch Them Fly Sundays" helps to give this album a sentimental feel along with the track "Maybe" which questions where we are and what we are supposed to be doing in life. These songs are more introspective and emotional than the group's previous work. "Have A Nice Day", inspired by a San Francisco taxi driver, provides the proof that the band's time in America has clearly had an effect on their music.
"Nice To Be Out" provides a list of where the band has been and the things they have seen, from where Hitler stood in Nuremberg to the tunnel in Paris where Princess Diana was killed, a "postcard diary" as the band call it in an interview in Q magazine.
The final track on the album, "Rooftop" is a song that will definitely get the crowd moving when played live, it's a pumped up tune about a man standing on a rooftop while a crowd gathers, thinking that he's contemplating jumping off, which he isn't, until he gains the attention of the crowd. Kelly's vocals on this album are as powerful and unique as they always have been, gritty, strong and loaded with pain and pride, his lyrics full of meaning. Yet the irony of several thousand people, happily jumping up and down to "Rooftop" or "Local Boy In The Photograph" (from Word Gets Around), a song about a child who commits suicide by lying down on a railway track, is not lost on the band. Kelly Jones once said of their music, "If you listen to the words and go away and think about what I've written, then great. But at the same time if it takes you away from the factory for five minutes, then we've done our job."
All in all, I loved the album but I don't agree with the band when they say it's their best album so far. I kinda prefer "Word Gets Around" and "Performance and Cocktails".