Monday, 3 March 2008
Review - Stereophonics - Pull the Pin
The last two reviews have been of recent, or close to recent, releases from artists as I can imagine that reviewers are supposed to review, but this album is not recent, but already been out for a few months, but I have started to listen to it thinking I would give it a chance, but that might have been a mistake.
Stereophonics have been awful for ages. Since their first two albums that caught the same zeitgeist that Oasis had rode in on, they went all rubbish in the same way Oasis fell apart (if you believe the press, I can now listen to those albums with hindsight and be very impressed by them). The problem with Stereophonics is that they mellowed out beyond what you can call still actively making a record – they were not only slow and mellow, but also it seemed lazy, almost drifting along doing nothing but chords and mismatched lyrics talking pish about nothing but the “rock and roll” that Kelly Jones and experienced a few years previously.
All this make 2005’s Language Violence Sex Other a return to form in a sense with the heavier rock and gnarling riffs from their earlier stuff, and it still sounds like a really good album even today – but the worry is that their sixth album, Pull the Pin, would return to the chilled out arsey rock of their previous releases, and you might be relieve as they don’t as the distortion is turned up and kept on at a loud level, but missing is everything else.
Rifss slip out like mumbled words after a few drinks, the drumming, whilst trying hard, still feels laboured and as an after thought, and the lyrics are even more generic that you can imagine, describing such boring things such as a Bank Holiday Monday, and all this hidden in a loud package that seems to say “yeah, LOUD, but BORING”.
The problem is that there is the regular amount of acoustic, slow rock and fast riffing here, and the regular and required amout of swearing for the average chart listener to think they are listening to a Rock band, but in fact Kelly Jones have not ever been on, and have never been the master lyricist that they are perceived to have been – just back in the Performance and Cocktails they had energy, and Word Gets Around they had enthusiasm, but now they pretend to have both, where they really just have Major Label cheques and Yes-men who hang about saying “That is rock” when in fact it is “distortion based pop music”.
Stereophonics are still awful, and Pull the Pin should by all accounts be their last album, but it won’t be, as the Radio1 crew bought it and put it to number 1. I wonder when they will release their “greatest hits”.
Passing the Buck, probably the best track on the album.
Bank Holiday Monday, probably the worst track on the album.