Sound: Keep Calm and Carry On is the 7th studio album of the Welsh band. What's great about Stereophonics is that they have a relatively wide musical comfort zone, with songs ranging from slow-sentimental to upbeat pop rock to classic alternative rock. Although it's great having different types of songs on the same album as it shows diversity, the setback is that it makes it very difficult to listen to the entire album in a single flow mainly because of the slightly dull and slow emotional songs. The band does manage to include keyboards, acoustic guitar, excellent vocals, fun riffs, and electro sounds all in the same album. It leaves a good first impression, but can start getting a little mundane after listening to it for a few times. There are a few songs that stand out, such as She's Alright or I Got Your Number, which demonstrate that the band are still capable of creating very good music. // 7
Lyrics: Singer Kelly Jones provides a consistently solid vocal delivery on the entire album. His signature whisky vocals are present on songs such as I Got Your Number. The first song of the album, She's Alright, is a good demonstration of Jones' singing range capabilities with sequences reminiscent of AC/DC. Stuck in a Rut is a bluesy-alternative song about the changes of life and how one must not be passive against the obstacles that are tied to those changes.
On the other hand, the lyrics are probably the weakest element to the album, being more on the generic side. They cover general topics such as emotional redemption, facing the changes and obstacles of life, and falling in love. The exception to the prosaic lyrics is I Got Your Number which tells the story of falling in and out of love with a girl who has drug problems. // 6
Overall Impression: Overall, Keep Calm and Carry On is a fun album, but perhaps not the most thought-out one. It would have been more pleasant to have more upbeat tracks versus the slower sentimental ballads, but at the same time, it allows for a more diverse album. The band has an excellent mastery of mixing, there is just the right amount of electronic components on certain songs without taking away from their rock style; they also add reverb to the vocals at certain appropriate moments. The lyrics lack profoundness, but the vocals are as solid as they have always been. Although the few slower songs are less interesting, the album also has several upbeat alternative rock songs with good beats and melodic guitar riffs. This is a good CD to listen to while driving on a highway, but not one which you'll frequently listen to over a period of several months or years. Keep Calm and Carry On remains loyal to the band's talents however lacks in overall creativity and novelty. // 7
- Frederic Sahyouni (c) 2009