Graffiti on the Train” is the first Stereophonics album since the death of former drummer Stuart Cable. Respectfully there does appear to be a more sombre mood to the proceedings. Whether this is deliberate or merely coincidental doesn’t matter as the content is at times quite fitting.

And so, let’s toss a coin. Heads its good news first and tails its bad. Tails it is but to be fair there’s not much of it. However, I do find it all a little confusing. Let’s start with “Indian Summer”. Go to Google and type in “middle of the road”. Does a description of the Stereophonics track “Indian Summer” appear? No? Give it a couple of weeks and I’m sure it will be on the first page of Google results. It’s just a terrible track that would be better suited to the Euro-vision Song Contest that to this rather good album.

And then there’s “Been Caught Cheating”. Not a bad track as it goes. However, imagine dressing up in your team’s football teams shirt, you also find your old team scarf and then you even find an old bobble hat displaying your teams crest. You arrive at the game only to find that you are in fact in the end containing the opposition’s fans. That is quite literally what “Been Caught Cheating” is to “Graffiti on the Train”. At one point I thought I’d shuffled my iPod onto a Bon Jovi album. It is so out of context with the rest of the album you actually wonder who on earth made the insane decision to put it on there.

But that’s it. There is no more bad news. Now onto the good stuff…

Take the title track “Graffiti on the Train”. It’s beautiful. In fact it demands to be listened to again. Amazing production and Kelly Jones voice is haunting. I’d even recommend buying the deluxe edition of the album as the stripped version is better. Then take “Roll the Dice”. Again, it’s a really well written song. It starts slowly and the chorus almost makes you jump.

There are others as well. “Violins and Tambourines” plods along but comes to a fantastic crescendo. The opening track is the same. “We Share the Same Sun” is why the Stereophonics remain one of the best UK guitar bands. The tracks in between, and not mentioned here, are all credible and well executed as well.

There is nothing on here that the Stereophonics haven’t done on any of their other 7 albums but who cares? This is good harmless rock with a subtle reminder here and there to absent friends.

 

Download: Graffiti on the Train, Roll the Dice, We Share the Same Sun

Rating: 4 out of 5

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