I have a love hate relationship with Stereophonics.
I love Stereophonics.
I hate they don’t reach the impossibly high standards I set for them in my music heart.
They are the only band I constantly raise my expectation bar for and as fan, it’s a bit ridiculous I do that. Not that they should pay any attention to what I set for them because they have been doing themselves since 1992 and it’s working for them just fine. And I’m still a fan whether they hit the expectation bar or not.
At the beginning of the month, the band released their 12th studio album Oochya!. As a fan, it’s a combination of all my favourite ‘Phonics records into one. Clocking in with 15 tracks, it’s an album with highs and lows, and I don’t mean good and bad. There are songs that will rock you and songs that will make you want to kick back and chill.
Kicking off with hard driving and bass thumping “Hanging on Your Hinges“, I feel this song is signature Stereophonics heavy. Crunchy guitars, bass that hits deep within your soul, and an energy that makes you want to get in a car and put the pedal to the metal and drive fast.
Musically and lyrically these songs are 90’s classic Stereophonics sound: “Forever”, “When You See It“, “Your My Soul” (the bass line in this song is A+), “Made a Mess of Me”, “Don’t Know What Ya Got”, and “Jack in a Box”. They are trusty in sound and vibes. There’s nothing new or obtrusive about them, but they’re comforting like an old friend.
Give me all the bass and beats in “Do You Feel My Love” all day long. I don’t think Richard Jones gets enough credit for his bass playing and is underrated. He has a subtle way of hitting the strings that just hit the soul of a song perfectly.
“Right Place Right Time” is a beauty. A reflection of memories on how everything that came to be was from one moment when it was at the right place at the right time. Funny how one moment can affect your entire life. I think that this song captures the beauty of that one special moment and propels it forward showing the good, the bad, and the ugly that life can throw at you.
“Close Enough to Drive Home” is another song that shows off Richard’s bass skills. He just knows how to hit the perfect bass note in a song. In every song. It’s nothing fancy. Nothing funky. Just a bass line that sticks to your lips like honey.
“Leave the Light On” is quiet and mellow, it’s a nice break for the middle of the record. Another quiet song is the piano based, “Every Dog Has Its Day”. “All I Have Is You” builds from the quiet and crushes you like a wave and the last of the slower and quiet songs is “Seen that Look Before”.
“Running Round My Brain” is a 70’s vibe rocker and of course, Richard’s bass is essence to that vibe. Slick, low, and sexy. This is my 2nd favourite track on the album. Richard’s bass plus Kelly’s vocals make this song dirty sexy good.
Overall, the album is solid from beginning to end. My very high personal music expectations were met with some songs and others almost did. Like I said at the beginning. I love Stereophonics and I will always be a fan of theirs. And I will continue with my stupid high expectation for them. Truth is. With every album they gift to the Universe, they never disappoint and at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters to me. This album did not disappoint.
FAVORITE TRACK: “Hanging on Your Hinges”
MUST LISTEN TRACK: “Running Round My Brain”
RATING OUT OF 5 ROCK HANDS: 3 🤘🤘🤘
Watch Stereophonics’ entire performance on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show