Sound — 8
Being a Stereophonics fan since the 1997's "Word Gets Around" album, I was expecting a certain sound from this album, and while the overall feel remains the same, this album shows the Stereophonics' new direction. more electronic effects on Kelly Jones' voice gives him an almost distant sound with his lazy-style vocals, which works for some songs but not so much for others. Songs such as "Doorman" and "Girl" offer something for the heavier, riff-filled fan, while "Dakota" and "Rewind" offer more commercial soundng songs, while still maintaining the Phonics' edge. sound is good, but in places is a bit too loaded with effects on Kelly's voice. Varied effets used on the guitars give diversity throughout the album, but the same "britpop" feel is in there.
Lyrics — 8
Kelly Jones is renowned for his lyrical skills, and this album is no different. He is able to change to different subjects with ease, and his vocal style goes with the music well on "Language. Sex. Violence. Other?" the effects on his voice sometimes make the lyrics hard to hear, but generally the listener is able to make out the lyrics and sing along after only a few listens through. Somes such as "Doorman" have attitude in them, with Kelly shouting at a doorman of a club with lyrics such as "suck my banana, suck it with cream" while other songs such as "Dakota" offer more listener-friendly sing-along lyrics such as "you make me feel like the one." overall, the lyrics on this album are not quite up to the level of such past classics as "Just Looking" or those on the first album, but are still of a very high quality. The best lyrics on the album come in the penultimate song, "Deadhead."
Overall Impression — 10
Compared to Stereophonics' past albums, I would rate this as 3rd in their 5 album collection. It beats the past offerings of "You Gotta Go There To Come Back" and "Just Enough Education To Perform" which even the band themselves apologise for, blaming them on the use of drugs. However, I wouldn't put it above "Word Gets Around" or "Performance and Cocktails," although it is still a good album. the most impressive songs on the album are the 2nd song "Doorman" for pure attitude, "Rewind" for the sudden change of mood from loud to sombre mid-way through the album, "Pedalpusher" for the amazing riff throughout and "Deadhead" for being the most different on the album, and arguably the most "complete" sounding and having the best lyrics. Being a long-term Stereophonics' fan, I love the new direction this album takes, with the band going harking back to more riff-filled songs while adding a new twist with different sounding effects on Kelly's voice. However, I don't like the overall feel of the album as much as past offerings, but I would still rate this album 9/10. While not being out for another 3 weeks when I recieved this copy of the album, I would not be able to replace it just yet if stolen, but I would certainly buy it again if it was taken, being a pure "Phonic-fanatic."