By Patrick Campbell
Released March 1st, 2013 - Warner Music
The eighth studio album from welsh alternative rockers Stereophonics"Graffiti On The Train" shows that the band is still going strong even with drummer Javier Weyler leaving the band and being replaced byJamie Morrison of the Noisettes. The album debuted at number three on the UK album charts, and number two on the Scottish charts, it also peaked at number one on the UK Indie charts.
The album has a dark atmosphere about it, with country influenced guitar melodies, melancholic strings and lead singer Kelly Jones' trademark smoky vocals. Songs like "We Share The Same Sun" and "Catacomb" hark back to earlier Stereophonics albums with their big drums and heavy guitar riffs, whilst string heavy orchestral tunes like the title-track show a glimpse of a new refined Stereophonics.
The songs show the listener a story, like a movie, hardly surprising seeing as they collaborated with famous film composer David Arnold for string arrangements on some of the tracks. "Violins And Tambourines", is the standout track in my opinion. It begins the same as many songs on the album; slow, quiet, bare. It leaves you almost longing for something more, and by the bridge you get it. The song turns into an orchestral masterpiece with David Arnolds' strings leading the pack in a hurried race to reach the finish. The guitars pick up and the vocals return with a new passion and aggression. The song features a brilliant trumpet line and the violins sound like something off a James Bond film. It reminds me why Stereophonics make music: because they are good at it.
For me there is one let down on this album, the song "Been Caught Cheating". It doesn't fit in with the rest of the album with its bluesy guitars and lovesick vocals. The song creates a gap in the cinematic masterpiece and nearly ruins it. The first seven songs all work together to create a desperate atmosphere, something that tells us "something big is coming", and then this track comes along and rips all that work down.
The first single from the album "In A Moment" failed to chart even with popular demand because it was released as a free download and only a limited number of physical vinyl issues. The second single "Indian Summer" however reached number thirty on the UK singles charts, becoming their highest charting single since 2007 when "It Means Nothing" reached number twelve.
After a four year long wait Stereophonics needed to release a really good album to keep their fans and critics happy, fortunately they did that. "Graffiti On The Train" is a masterpiece of beautifully written lyrics and melodies. It's laid back approach with only three fast songs out of ten altogether, and haunting strings, creates an album that is enjoyable to listen to and makes you want more.
4 / 5