Graffiti on the Train
CLEARLY among the finest of Britain’s bands, Stereophonics don’t disappoint with their eighth studio album.
Graffiti on the Train differs from their previous outings and from rock albums in general due to the range of styles and the difficulty of placing it into any specific theme.
The root cause of this inability to camp in any one area is that the band came to the recording sessions with minds bursting full of ideas, the resulting ten tracks being a mix of many different thoughts and influences. Listening to it, I could pick out rock anthems and ballads, moments of Manic Street Preachers, sections of Robert Palmer.
But despite the variety, in the end it comes down to some cracking tunes and the unmistakable voice of Kelly Jones, the combination of which help to carry this record off into the sunset with head held high.
We Share The Same Sun, Indian Summer and Roll The Dice are traditional Stereophonics tracks with high tempo guitars and an unforgettable chorus, but the beauty is in the detail of the title track and the masterful Violins and Tambourines, with poignant lyrics. As is often the case, many of these Stereophonics tracks tell stories, with the plot being unveiled by Jones verse after verse, wonderfully keeping us hooked all the time.
On first listen, some of the tracks seem weaker than others, including the slow, plodding Graffiti on the Train. But this is an album that needs listening to five or six times before judgment is passed and, having done so, I can confirm it’s a ‘grower’ that benefits with age and the understanding of what the band were trying to achieve. ‘I found myself walking into a studio with 40 unfinished ideas, rather than 10 finished ones,’ said Kelly Jones on the origins of the album. ‘And by doing that the songs became way more unpredictable. The band and everyone involved had a good time doing it.’