9 March 2022-
Veteran Welsh band Stereophonics are back with a brand new twelfth album, Oochya!, whose overflowing energy is a welcome addition to our playlist...
It’s hard to believe, but still is true: Stereophonics are turning 30 this year, and their debut album Word Gets Around was released exactly a quarter century ago. If that doesn’t make you feel old, we don’t know what does, except perhaps looking at a recent photo of Madonna. To mark the occasion’s, Kelly Jones‘ crew started planning for some sort of compilation album. As they went through their own archive, Jones stumbled upon unreleased songs that he thought were absolutely worthy of being on an album… the rest is called Oochya!
The Stereophonics recipe for success — and, by the looks of it, a good one at that: the new album is looking like it will soon become their 8th UK number one… — has long been perfected by the band. Their blend of powerful, yet compact rock music tends to pack a punch, albeit with a remarkably melodic component thrown in the mix. Add to that Kelly Jones’ spot-on voice, which comes with the perfect degree of raspiness, strength and nuance, and you get what is starting to become one the biggest rock bands the UK has ever produced.
New album Oochya! is no different. Starting with the highly energetic lead single “Hanging On Your Hinges”, the album then alternates between other rock-infused numbers and softer ballads coming with acoustic guitars, a slower tempo — and the occasional strings. “Forever”, inspired by Jones’ son early bout with cancer, is among the latter; so is “Right Place Right Time”, which tells the beautiful story of how the singer met his wife and soulmate; same with “Every Dog Has Its Day” and its highly enjoyable violin section… Then, you effortlessly switch back to good ol’ rockers like “Don’t Know What Ya Got” or “Made A Mess Of Me”. What is interesting, though, is that no matter the particular vibe of the song, you are left with an overall feeling of tempered enthusiasm, or cautious optimism if you will.
In other words, this is not a young man’s, anything-is-possible kind of album. But it also isn’t a things-aren’t-what-they-used-to-be collection of songs. Instead, it manages to find a middle ground for hope — and life — to grow in. Cheers to that!