Sound: Well, this is the first solo album by Stereophonics frontman Kelly Jones. Jones, in interviews supporting the CD and in the DVD short documentary that accompanies the deluxe edition of the album, has stated that he recorded this albumin between takes of the sixth Stereophonics album (not yet released). Jones has said that the album is not for financial gain or chart ratings, it's just for him, a concept behind each song that he wanted to explore. Each song, as Jone once again says, was a ten-minute job which he put together (most of the time) on the spot. This is unsurprising when you listen to the CD. On the first listen, the songs seem sparse and could really have a lot more added to them to fill the sound out. However, this soon proved to be the wrong way of listening to the songs. Indeed, the songs themselves are all in the lyrics, and what lyrics they are! The album is nothing at all like any of the Stereophonics albums, where effects seem to lay waste to every song. Instead, this album gives a stripped-down and bare acoustic feel, each song's lyrics haunting you but also making you exhale loudly and think: wow... that's beautiful. // 8
Lyrics: As I said, the songs are all in the lyrics..lyrics that could only be written by Kelly Jones. Each song, as you may have guessed from looking at the tracklisting, is about a girl (each song title being a girl's name). So, let me take you through each of the ten songs on the album.
01. Suzy - this song is about a girl who has a brief but pleasurable relationship with the narrator. However, the narrator parts from her in the middle of the night, w ithout telling her, never to meet again. This is one of the barest songs on the album and Jone's voice is melancholic throughout, it is as though you can hear the painin his voice.
02. Rosie - this is about a nurse, and doctors/nurses in general. Rosie works on a children's ward, but, like many other peoplein her profession, is consumed by her job, unable to have a social life because of her work. Jones said in the documentary DVD that it is very sad that people who save lives everyday can't live their own. "Rosie helped the kids stay alive/She gave them the drugs/So they didn't die." is instantly misleading as an opening lyric (the drugs being pharmaceutical, contradictory to what the listener first presumes).
03. Liberty - this is about a girl that is tired of being with her man because he can't give her an orgasm. She stays out in bars, meets the narrator, and he gives her an orgasm. The chorus "Won't you come with me, Liberty" is a subtle pun.
04. Katie - Jones said that he heard this story from one of his friends, about a girl that couldn't afford a taxi fare, so she slept with the driver to cover the cost. For some reason, she didn't think it was that bad, and got off on it.
05. Violet - this song reminds me of the Ipswich (England) prostitute killings. Basically, this song is about a prostitute that fell out with her dad, ran away from home and has been killed by a prostitute-killer. This is the shortest and most blunt song on the album, at just under 2 minutes.
06. Jayne - this is about a girl that went away from the narrator, but has seemed to vanish. Jones said he wanted to create that kind of real-life mystery, when someone goes missing and no-one knows why.
07. Misty - this song is about a girl that's always stuck in doors (possibly agoraphobic) and is always thinking about what her boyfriend could be doing with someone else. Only 4 verses to this song, all elaborating on what she feels.
08. Emily - Emily is a woman that can't afford all the things she wants. One day a tall man with lots of money comes along and marries her. She's got the money now, but isn't satisfied. Then one day, her husband comes home and finds her in bed with the hotel boy. The husband kills the boy and gets arrested. Thanks to Emily, everything has all fallen apart.
09. Jean - this is a hard one to figure out. I think it's abouta girl that doesn't know what to do with herself, so wastes her time by having sex.
10. Summer - this is a bit like Suzy, except this time the narrator stays with the girl. // 10
Overall Impression: Please note that you should not compare this album with the other Stereophonics ones. This is very different in every respect, and should only be judged upon as it is its own unique album. My favourite songs are Rosie, Suzy, Violet and Katy. I love this album because I haven't seen many people do this kinda stuff recently, just write songs which have stories behind them and write melodies to them in no time at all. They're not the best songs ever, but they'll stay in my mind for that reason alone. // 9