Rising from pubs to stadiums, Stereophonics’ accomplishments are near limitless. Six number 1 albums. 11 top 10 singles, including the chart-topping ‘Dakota’.
Now, founder members Kelly Jones (vocals/guitar) and Richard Jones (bass) are joined by the relative newcomers, Adam Zindani (guitar) and Jamie Morrison (drums), along with long-term live keyboardist Tony Kirkham. “It’s like when you think of Ronnie Wood being the new guitarist in The Stones,” laughs Kelly. “That new guy syndrome never wears off.”
Each Stereophonics album attracts a new legion of young fans who are discovering them for the very first time. What’s more, it’s an audience that’s split evenly between male and female. So when the Joneses greet their huge crowds, they inevitably see that the front few rows are packaged with people in their teens and early-twenties.
Twenty years after they first broke through with ‘Word Get Around’, both founder members are more interested in continuing to progress rather than reflecting upon the past. As Richard explains, “We’re always trying to move forward, to find new things we can do, and to discover what people like about us.” It’s a stance that’s reflected throughout their forthcoming tenth album ‘Scream Above The Sounds’.
For this album, Kelly began to write “big, anthemic songs that are rallying against those anxious feelings that have flooded through cities.” A strident melodic rush in the finest of Stereophonic traditions, the opener ‘Caught By The Wind’ is the most striking example of that approach, but the whole collection is permeated with positivity. “Every song offers a sense of release,” he continues. “Even when there’s nostalgia, fear or anxiety, they’re still all offering hope and room to manoeuvre.”
The album was primarily recorded in the band’s HQ in west London with a further session at RAK Studios alongside a few elements which remained from the ‘Keep The Village Alive’ sessions at ICP Studios in Brussels.
Created with the help of regular collaborator Jim Lowe, it’s an album in which creative sonic touches add to the band’s emphasis on songwriting and melody. ‘What’s All The Fuss About?’ is a case in point with a Latin American feel and rousing trumpets while ‘Geronimo’ explodes from stomping blues into a wild, improvised freestyle with a touch of the Tom Waits about it. Less dramatic but similarly unconventional are the ‘Tom’s Diner’ feel of the percussive loop that swings under ‘Would You Believe’ and the vocoder that subtly accents Kelly’s vocals on ‘Taking A Tumble’.