on 6 March 2013
This album marks a departure (no pun intended) from the previous write - record- tour cycle and the extra time taken to develop the sound is very evident. This is a diverse, melodic, discordant, filmic album spanning from vocal led ballad to blues to strings to rock. It is well worth a listen...but take your time and have a little patience it is a grower.
on 6 March 2013
This is an excellent album with some strong tracks. Especially like the story telling aspect and the wonderful moving sound of 'Graffiti on the Train', just beautiful. Of course Indian Summer is the reason I initially bought as such a catchy tune that stays in your head all day.
on 8 March 2013
Quite simply their best album yet, how some critics can refer to this album as typical Stereophonics meat and potatoes pub rock is mind boggling. Every song is incredibly strong, but stand out moments are Violins and Tambourines, Graffiti on the Train, the superbly odd yet catchy zombie soundtrack esque In A Moment, all of which are amongst their best stuff and feature diversity by the bucket load. Catacombs is an opportunity for them to flex their guitar muscles, Take Me is beautiful, haunting and odd, and the end minute or so of Roll the Dice is superb, comparisons by reviewers to any Muse track with strings and rolling drums are completely lazy, it really isn't anything like Muse, but is brilliant despite this. The only track that I would give four stars is Caught Cheating, but only because I personally didn't much like You Gotta go There. Oh and Indian Summer is one of their best singles for a while, not sure why people are not liking it to be honest. Overall their most impressive album since Sex. Violence which is one of my all time favourite CDs.
on 12 March 2013
I have been a fan since hearing the first note of Word Gets Around but to be honest I had been a little disappointed with the recent album releases of late. I think I was almost ready to give up on Jones' song writing abilities, but alas, Graffiti on the Train comes out!
Again, its different! But its not rushed this time. Im humming nearly every song off this album to myself constantly and had the album on loop since receiving it in the post. Each listen brings new depth to the songs. If you're after quick 3 minute rock songs liken to WGA then this isnt for you... but what this is is properly constructed mature songs with a story and a edge. Out of ten songs there are atleast 6 songs that could be singles.
Do not listen to NME! this is quality! Enjoy
"Graffiti On The Train", Stereophonics' eighth studio album, is unlikely to win them any new fans, garner any reviews littered with gushing accolades or, indeed, change many peoples minds about them. It is, however, rather an enjoyable listen for somebody who has always liked the band and Kelly Jones' writing, without always liking everything they have always done. I'm not convinced that this album is any real new direction, but it certainly features a slight more widescreen, evolved, mature version of the band which, considering the fact they've been around for over twenty years, shouldn't be much of a surprise. However, this album is most definitely recognisable as a Stereophonics release, even with the added orchestral touches and the usual bombast toned down a little, so there is no chance of them alienating any of their current fans.
The strings-adorned title track with its rather beautiful guitar solo is certainly one of the highlights, although the point Kelly is trying to make through the lyrics, if any, has been lost on me. "Indian Summer", again featuring plenty of strings boldly punctuating the chorus, is a particularly likeable song, "Catacomb" is a pounding, relentless chunk of indie-rock which, frankly, sounds great and "Roll The Dice" is a classy, emotive, ambitious composition and is, in my opinion, probably the best thing on the whole release. Final track, the poignant, vulnerable and rather beautiful "No-one's Perfect", completes my personal pick of the highlights from "Graffiti On The Train", but it also has to be said that there is also nothing particularly dislikeable on the album either.
It seems like having a break for a few years, recruiting a new drummer and spending a long time choosing the songs and getting the album sounding exactly how they wanted has paid off. It's a very good album indeed, with a handful of stand-out tracks which make this a worthy purchase for anyone who has enjoyed a Stereophonics album in the past. OK, it's not exactly "Performance and Cocktails", but it's a much better album than most people would expect from the group at this stage of their career and deserves a wider audience than they get these days. A lot of people seem to have written Stereophonics off... rather unfairly, it seems.
on 7 May 2013
I've been listening to his album for a while and I have to say: I love this album. It's beautiful. Its the perfect mix of rough guitars and ragged vocals with sweet orchestral backdrops. The tragic love story of the title track made me well up the first time I heard it. The murderous thunder of Violins and Tambourines as it builds to a scream makes my pulse pound. The plaintive cry of No Ones Perfect that asks for forgiveness without makes excuses is touching and human. Even the faux blues of Been Caught Cheating, complete with crowd calling out assent and clinking glasses manages to feel genuine rather than contrived.
And it sounds great on vinyl. Albums like this are why vinyl exist. It sounds warm and analog and natural. The violins sound sweet, and acoustic guitars ring out while their electric cousins snarl and spit, and the bass pulses at it's heart.
Kelly Jones's voice has less of its characteristic rasp, though it's still far from smooth. The songs are mostly centred around love, in it's various forms and with it's various endings. This record is sometimes so melancholy it becomes spooky, as in Take Me with it's whispered female harmony, at other times, such as the song Catacomb, it sounds distinctly menacing, evoking some strange disturbing place with it's electronica overtones. The single Indian Summer was a rip roaring success, becoming Stereophonics 1st UK Top 40 single since 2007, with its story of a lost love and the good times that used to be, backed with an orchestral sound and ending with a simple slide guitar lick. There aren't really any aggressive rockers on this album, those looking for another Superman or Doorman are doomed to disappointment, but it's clear that the songwriting and playing have matured. These are satisfying songs, each crafted until it can reward repeated listens. Anyone who liked You Gotta Go There to Come Back would like this.
My copy was the Vinyl 180g special edition and it sounds spot on (in fact I used it to demo a new turntable), and the artwork, an abstract face done in oils by British artist Stephen Goddard, looks wonderfully detailed. I love this choice in an era where minimalist artwork is often used as a safe option (to make it look good on an itunes thumbnail). Nice work guys. I got a free mp3 download (320 kbps) with my copy, that arrived by straight away by email link. While it's nice not to have to set up another account with somebody or mess about with download codes, I wound up without even an official looking receipt so if my backups fail I guess I'll have to buy again or bit-torrent. (I'm really not sure what the legal side of music downloads will do in the future. My two best guesses either bit-torrenting will become the accepted norm or anti-piracy measures will become so fierce that we'll have to prove the origin of every music download we have. I'd be interested to know what other reviewers do about their backups.) This however is a small issue and I only mention it for the sake of completeness. It doesn't detract from my enjoyment of the amazing music. Thank you Stereophonics.
For me this might be the best album of the year, which is saying something as my favourite band of all time, Deep Purple, have now entered the UK charts (for the first time since I was about two!) with their new offering Now What ?! I think it's going to be a great year for music.
on 11 March 2013
For years now I've been of the opinion that Kelly Jones is the best Rock Vocalist the UK has to offer, and on this album he has the chance to prove that. The guitar has been reined in quite a bit, compared to other Stereophonics albums, which gives Kelly the chance to show off his remarkably soulful voice to its best effect. The title track is an instant classic, and the bluesy ballad "Been Caught Cheating" is another stunner. If, like me, you've generally preferred the band's mellower tunes, then you will love this album.
In my opinion, the Stereophonics have released their greatest album to date with 'Graffiti on the Train'. With a matured sound, strong songs, meaningful lyrics, well.. the band has always had the latter two going for them, but this is definitely their most mature album yet. Here we have one beautifully crafted record where every song is quite special in it's own right, the haunting title track and 'Indian Summer' are already up there with my all time favourite songs from Stereophonics.
Like the debut album of 1997, 'Word Gets Around', where these guys have never sounded quite as raw and rocky since, this is a quality, instantly-engaging album that will have you hooked from it's start to finish.
'Graffiti on the Train' is quite different to the rest of their records so far, but that must also be a good thing right? It's always nice to see successful bands with increasing longevity involving with their music. With four years between the releases of 'Keep Calm and Carry On' and 'Graffiti on the Train', it hasn't been a short wait for a new album from this fantastic band - but it has certainly been worth it.
on 29 July 2014
A little uneven and disappointing.
Having thoroughly enjoyed the bulk of their pre-greatest hits work, they seemed to ran out of steam and like many fans, despite a lingering fondness for their best (though always unfairly critically maligned) work and of them as a great live act and a very likeable band, did not feel inspired to buy their latter albums.
Having seen such good reviews for this album, my hopes were high, but I have to say - I am a little disappointed. Some tracks work better than others and some almost work ('In a moment' and 'Been caught cheating' stand out to me as album highlights), but this album lacks a certain sparkle which made their best work so likeable, no matter what those darn critics said. There is nothing quite so convincingly bluesy as 'Maybe tomorrow' or rousing as 'Bartender and the thief' or rocking as anything on the 'Sex, language, violence, other' album or as moving and soul searching as 'Traffic' or sarcastically but infectiously cheery as 'Have a nice day' - get the picture?
Not a bad album, but nothing to rival them at their best.
on 6 March 2013
I loved this album from the first time I heard it. I am a huge fan, so I know my opinion is biased, but I believe this is a great piece of work by the band. It has something for all emotions, it rocks, it soothes, there are happy tunes and sad, dark ones, but truly wonderful in all. Great bass lines, superb guitar solos, the drumming (by Javier Weyler) is immense, and of course Kelly Jones vocals. For me, a stunning album. Stereophonics have their haters, but don't listen to them, make up your own mind. I have had the priviledge of hearing these tracks live now too, and they sound fantastic! Five stars from me, well deserved.