"Sex. Language. Violence. Other?"

Sex. Language. Violence. Other?
reviewer: Bob
rating: 3 out of 5
published by: V2
released: 14th March 2005
  1. Superman
  2. Doorman
  3. Brother
  4. Devil
  5. Dakota
  6. Rewind
  7. Pedalpusher
  8. Girl
  9. Lolita
  10. Deadhead
  11. Feel

If you were to summarise the career of The Stereophonics in a paragraph it would probably go a little like this. Young Turks release a promising debut album; the second album breaks through to wide commercial success. The first single from Just Enough Education To Perform, the journalist-baiting ‘Mr Writer’, unsurprisingly begins something of a ‘Phonics press backlash. The band treads water for album number four and then sacks curly-haired, fun-loving drummer Stuart Cable for his lack of dedication. So with a new drummer on board they’ve something to prove.

No-one would own up to tying Kelly's shoelaces together
No-one would own up to tying Kelly's shoelaces together

It’s fortunate then that for Language, Sex, Violence… Other?, the band’s fifth long player, Kelly Jones has stopped arseing around with the slow stuff and put his foot firmly down on the accelerator. The album kicks off with second single ‘Superman’, which sets the template for what’s to follow: crunchy guitars, massive choruses and Jones’ gravelled voice stretching every syllable like Liza Tarbuck’s knicker elastic. From there the album barely slows up. It’s a breakneck, sing-along rock record and all the better for it.

So it’s pats on the backs for the boys from the valley and we can all retire to the bar safe in the knowledge of a job well done? Not quite. With the release of Word Gets Around it sounded like Jones was a Dylan-like chronicler of small town life with his songs painting vivid pictures. Here the lyrics are lazy. On ‘Brother‘ he rhymes “poet” with “know it”. During ‘Deadhead‘ he gets in “liar” and “fire” (presumably ‘pants on’ wouldn’t scan) and on the otherwise excellent ‘Dakota’ the lyrics to the verses sound like they were tossed off on the back of one of Kelly’s packs of Regals. He’s still writing about what he knows (‘Doorman’ concerns not being allowed into a nightclub); he probably just needs to get out a bit more.

The Stereophonics haven’t reinvented the wheel with this album. They haven’t even reinvented the ‘Phonics. What they have made is a solid rock album that you don’t have to think too hard about when you’re listening to it…and sometimes that’s enough.