Stereophonics
Graffiti On The Train


3.5
great

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
March 3rd, 2013 | 20 replies | 4,840 views


Release Date: 03/04/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Mature Stereophonics

Stereophonics had steadily been dropping records every two years from 1997 to 2009, at one point feeling stuck on autopilot, especially in the last couple of years of the run. Keep Calm And Carry On and Pull The Pin, felt tired and uninspired, both recycling the same formulas while the arena rock leanings made them shallow, easily forgettable affairs. Hell, at one point it seemed they even were content with their musical impasse. So the 4 year gap in between Keep Calm And Carry On and Graffiti On The Train gave the band more time to sit back and think their next move. While their latest effort isn't that comeback the fans have been expecting for a long time now, it is easily the best offering since Language.Sex.Violence.Other?

Borrowing a lot from the subdued affair You Gotta Go There To Come Back and even Just Enough Education To Perform, also adding a somewhat uneasy vibe throughout, most of the tracks here are mellow, built up on melancholic, picked guitar and piano lines. The great thing about some of them is they tend to create a surrounding atmosphere, an aspect that's been missing since the 2005 effort, Language.Sex.Violence.Other?. Tracks like "Violins And Tambourines" and "Graffiti On The Train" have some depth, being two of the highlights on the record. The former slowly builds up over an anxious guitar line, bursting into a desperate finale where front man Kelly Jones screams over the string arrangements. The title track follows the footprints of the band's earlier ballads without sounding as pretentious as their latest output, finishing with a great, echoed and tremolo-full guitar solo, mimicking a synthesizer, that would've been at home on Blur's 13 record.

Another noticeable feature is the relative lack of distortion. Few tracks have power, the band opting for a more settled affair this time. Exceptions are the straightforward "Catacomb", which feels like Stereophonics having a bit of fun in the studio and the opener "We Share The Same Sun". Even if it clings to arena rock, it's a simple, catchy song that both old fans and casual ones will enjoy. There is also the mechanical "In A Moment", a song that owes more to the electronic genre than the usual approach, which finds Kelly Jones questioning all the things he took for granted as a superstar. It's nice to see the Stereophonics wandering a bit outside the comfort zone for the first time in many years. The two oddballs here, "Been Caught Cheating" and "Indian Summer" stand aside the overall sound of the record. The first is a nice, late night bar acoustic blues lament that reminisces the sound on You Gotta Go There To Come Back and the second, which might be the most divisive song here among the listeners, is a grandiose pop tune, complete with strings and a huge chorus. It's understandable why some would find it sub par, as the record isn't that shiny and mainstream oriented, but honestly, "Indian Summer" is the band's catchiest single in 8 years.

Unfortunately, Graffiti On The Train, like most of their records, suffers a bit from inconsistency and a lack of truly memorable tunes. Yes, it sounds better and most of the tracks deserve more listens, but still, it's unlikely the record will stand the test of time. The stories aren't what they used to be in the late '90s, because the sheer honesty and knack for storytelling Jones had gradually disappeared since the mid '00s and the music doesn't feel as compelling as before. This doesn't mean the record is necessarily disposable, it's just the fact that the listener mustn't approach Graffiti On The Train with the highest of expectations. For a few weeks at best, the record might seem interesting, but it will fade sooner or later.

In the end, Graffiti On The Train shows the Stereophonics are willing to come out of their creative deadlock and make room for a musical resurgence that's been needed for quite some time now. More than half of the record is interesting and shows a band awaken from a deep slumber.



Recent reviews by this author
Kaiser Chiefs Education, Education, Education & WarMotorpsycho Behind the Sun
The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic The Ultra Electric Mega GalacticKamchatka The Search Goes On
Buckethead Monument ValleyTruckfighters Universe
user ratings (22)
Chart.
3
good
other reviews of this album
mike197 (3.5)
Although inconsistent, 'Graffiti on the Train' has many moments that shine and make for an at-times ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2013



3164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like the record, but it won't be a classic any time soon. Still, it's nice to see they haven't faded into obscurity. Constructive criticism appreciated.

Stream the record here - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/music-news/9897971/Stereophonics-Graffiti-on-the-Train-exclusive-album-stream.html

Digging: Chevelle - La Gargola

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2013



3164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Also, this is my first review as contributor, yaaaaaay! I hope it doesn't suck that much ass

minty901
March 3rd 2013



1915 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

reads like a 3 maybe. anyway, i was disappointed with this. mostly because in a moment and violins and tambourines were the first 2 songs released, and are the band's best songs since dakota and superman. then indian summer came out and it RIPPED out my excitement! what a shit song. like one of the worst songs i've heard from stereophonics. and they made it means nothing. this band has awesome songs and shitty songs. i wish they could be consistent. thats why i like a decade in the sun, because it has most of their great songs in one place. i love it when stereophonics show their teeth, like in a moment and superman. i don't think i'll buy this.

edit: oh and very good review.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2013



3164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i had the same feeling with violins and in a moment. still, indian summer grew on me. i thought the same with decade in the sun, also. it was the record that got me into them. still some of the material here is the best since language.sex.violence.other?

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2013



10018 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

i did not know they had a new record coming out

Digging: Woods - With Light And With Love

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2013



3164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

There wasn't that much publicity I guess and after 4 years a lot of people almost forgot about them. Also, thanks mods for the feature.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2013



4339 Comments


Great review, Insomniac. I'm so happy you got promoted.

ButteryBiscuitBass
March 4th 2013



8735 Comments


Really good review dude.

I think I'll give this record a miss though. Was never a fan of these guys.

JViney
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2013



313 Comments


First two albums were good. After that Kelly Jones' awful personality seemed to cast a shadow over anything they released. I'd love to belt him in the face, even just once. Will give this a try anyway, seems like they're trying something a little different at least.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2013



3164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks guys.
Yeah, the guy can be obnoxious at times. Lately he's been focusing more on music and directing the videos, which are cool.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2013



7166 Comments


I've never been into these guys, but this is a great review mate. Have a mind-pos.

Digging: Floor - Oblation

defjaw83
March 4th 2013



1763 Comments


Used to be obsessed with these when their first 2 albums came out but really lost interest after that. Might have a listen to this though if they've at least made an effort this time

Digging: Bonobo - The North Borders

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2013



3164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks Greg.
@defjaw83 - You should listen to Language.Sex.Violence.Other?, it's a great album. This is their definitely best since that one.

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2013



10018 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

how does this compare to you gotta go there, that's my favorite by far

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2013



3164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I find the overall atmosphere of this one more similar to You Gotta Go There than most of their records because it's more mellow and melancholic. It's not as good and honest as You Gotta Go There, but it's solid.

defjaw83
March 4th 2013



1763 Comments


I'll have to maybe check out 'Language...' then. I mean I've liked some of the singles they've released like Dakota and Maybe Tomorrow but I just assumed that the albums wouldn't be up to scratch. Man did I love their first 2 though, T-Shirt Sun Tan was my jam

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 5th 2013



3164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, those two albums are their strongest. Beside the big singles, Local Boy In The Photograph, Too Many Sandwiches, Hurry Up And Wait, She Takes Her Clothes Off and T-Shirt Sun Tan are really cool.
Language... and You Gotta Go There To Come Back are their strongest records from the last decade. They're really opposites, the former is a rocker and the other is mellow.

defjaw83
March 5th 2013



1763 Comments


They're from near to where I used to live so Local Boy in The Photograph is classic round here, wicked song. There was a point, before I discovered Deftones and Korn etc when I was 15, that I just used to listen to their first 2 albums and nothing else. It was pretty ridiculous looking back.

omnipanzer
June 13th 2013



21391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice polished album, it's nice to hear something from some obviously professional musicians every now and again.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2013



3164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, it's nice they put more thought and attention into this record.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy