Album review

Stereophonics :
You Gotta Go There To Come Back


Stereophonics : You Gotta Go There To Come Back The Stereophonics finally step out of the secure shelter of the 'prudent indie umbrella' and wipe the slate clean of their feigned radio tunes with a fresh attitude on their new venture You Gotta Go There To Come Back.
    It feels like a debut album, with the rugged Jealousy and the slightly naïve posture of I’m Alright (You Gotta Go There To Come Back) which is recovered proficiently with Kelly Jones’ weighty vocals. He explains on the sleeve notes how he wanted a spontaneous feel to the album, which was achieved by laying each track down in the space of a day before their live engineer Jim Lowe worked on preserving the live ambience. This approach suits the the band, bearing in mind the over-produced Performance And Cocktails (1998) and the self-indulgent Just Enough Education To Perform (2001). Both lost a lot of their energy in the final production stages.
    Maybe Tomorrow has been pencilled in as the next single, which could damage their new image as it implies a more mass-produced and superficial finish, with genetically modified guitar alongside Kelly’s manufactured voice. This impression is soon lost within the sketchy funk of High As The Ceiling and Help Me (She’s Out Of Her Mind) and the bluesy Ryan Adams-like I Miss You Now.

Whilst this new attitude can only improve their reputation, it has to be considered that this change of heart may be a direct response to the new sounds being consumed by the all-important music buying public, who are opting for the raw thrill of The Datsuns, The Vines and The White Stripes over the polished indie sound of the last decade. Without being cynical, it’s likely that the Stereophonics are tapping into this new breed of music buyer instead of pursuing a genuine change in direction.
    Whichever way you look at it, You Gotta Go There To Come Back marks a welcome turning point in the Stereophonics career; it’s got heart, it’s got soul, it’s rock 'n' roll, baby.

:: Paul Newbold

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