Scream Above The Sounds

Classic Rock - - The Hard Stuff Albums - John ai­zle­wood

Tenth al­bum. Dif­fer­ent from their other nine.

Six of the Stereo­phon­ics’ re­as­sur­ingly con­sis­tent nine al­bums have topped the UK chart, so as they hit dou­ble fig­ures it’s easy to take the band for granted. It’s easy too to for­get that Kelly Jones’s strangely af­fect­ing rasp com­bines swag­ger and the pathos of strug­gling ev­ery­day folk. Al­ways rue­ful, some­times self-lac­er­at­ing but never tread­ing wa­ter, Scream Above The Sounds should dis­pel a few Stereo­phon­ics mis­con­cep­tions.

When they play to their tra­di­tional strengths, most ex­hil­a­rat­ingly on an­them-to-be Cryin’ In Your Beer and the breezy Caught By The Wind, they’re all wal­lop­ing cho­ruses and gal­lop­ing gui­tars, but when they take chances things get re­ally in­trigu­ing. Look­ing back to move for­wards, the vul­ner­a­ble, im­pos­si­bly bereft Be­fore Any­one Knew Our Name is just Jones and a piano, tak­ing in sacked drum­mer Stu­art Cable’s death with a vul­ner­a­bil­ity that sug­gests emo­tions are still raw seven years on; the lay­ered, brass-laden What’s All The Fuss About? is a glit­ter­ing state-ofthe-na­tion ad­dress and, for a mo­ment, Geron­imo al­most breaks into The Water­boys’

A Girl Called Johnny.

By any yard­stick, this al­bum is good work.

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