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Stereophonics - Decade In The Sun (Greatest Hits)

Stereophonics, A Decade In The Sun

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

STEREOPHONICS – aka Kelly Jones, Richard Jones and Javier Weyler – are one of the UK’s most successful bands.

Originally formed in Cwmaman, South Wales in 1996, they have transcended their Britpop beginnings to become giants of the British rock scene, amassing 11 top five hits, 21 top 20 hits, and 9 million worldwide album sales.

Following another successful year, they release Decade In The Sun, a Greatest Hits compilation that brings together all of their most memorable tracks. Available as a single CD, deluxe double CD (set in hardback book) and DVD, the album spans all six of their studio albums, five of which reached No.1 in the UK charts.

And you may be surprised at the depth and quality of the songs on display. The album kicks off with the 2005 UK no. 1 smash Dakota, which at the time of release marked a change of direction. With its electro-tinged focus, it caught many off-guard who thought they were just about big, brash guitars, or sentimental (but highly effective) ballads. And crucially, with electronic music still very much in vogue, it still sounds as fresh today as it did back then.

Thereafter, the hits come thick and fast in an opening section that includes the hard-rocking The Bartender & The Thief, the beautifully composed Just Looking and the bright and breezy Have A Nice Day with its Beach Boys-inspired “ba, ba da, ba ba ba da” opening. In four songs, it also illustrates the diversity of their sound, which continues to evolve.

Further highlights come in the form of the mellow Maybe Tomorrow, the powerful Superman – another smash from the Language. Sex. Violence. Other era – and the crowd-pleasing Britpop of Pick A Part That’s New.

Mr Writer, meanwhile, was a delicious, almost bluesy rant against the press that also – at the time – signalled the band’s maturer approach to songwriting, while lazy guitar riffs and harmonica collide to seamless effect on the dusky Step On My Old Size Nines.

It Means Nothing, from their most recent LP Pull The Pin, is a highly emotional power-ballad about love that was written on the day of the London bombings, Vegas Two Times is a blistering rocker and Traffic continues to be to Stereophonics what Under The Bridge is to the Red Hot Chili Peppers; a timeless ballad of far-reaching popularity.

Of the two new tracks, My Own Worst Enemy is an angry, volatile hard-rocker that finds Jones’ vocals as gruff as ever and recounting a tale of dangerous love. If anything, it underlines how far they’ve come as a big rock act, rivalling as it does the intensity and aggression of bands like Foo Fighters and Queens Of The Stone Age at their best.

You’re My Star, meanwhile, is a mid-tempo offering that really showcases their ability to pen instantly addictive, radio-friendly hits. It balances some fine guitar work with a moody, emotional set of vocals from Jones that admit “you’re my Sunday, make my Monday come alive”. It’s an inspiring anthem that’s difficult not to fall in love with!

So, with all things considered – this has to rate as one of the best Greatest Hits compilations of this current season. Get some Sun in your lives!

Download picks: Dakota, Just Looking, Traffic, Mr Writer, You’re My Star, It Means Nothing, Superman, Vegas Two Times, Step On My Old Size Nines

Track listing:

  1. Dakota
  2. The Bartender And The Thief
  3. Just Looking
  4. Have a Nice Day
  5. Local Boy In The Photograph
  6. Maybe Tomorrow
  7. Superman
  8. Pick a Part That’s New
  9. My Own Worst Enemy
  10. I Wouldn’t Believe Your Radio
  11. You’re My Star
  12. Mr Writer
  13. Step On my Old Size Nines
  14. Devil
  15. It Means Nothing
  16. A Thousand Trees
  17. Vegas Two Times
  18. Traffic
  19. More Life in a Tramps Vest
  20. Handbags and Gladrags

  1. about time a greatest hits……brilliant….

    john brown    Nov 29    #