Stereophonics Pump Out Refreshing Variation While Keeping Their Sound on New Album Oochya!

4.3 out of 5 stars

Stereophonics are a band that has been around for a while - since 1992 in fact. They are a band that I definitely lost track of over the years as I didn’t really even know that they were still making music.

Well, I may regret that I haven’t stuck with them, because if their new album Oochya! is any indication, they are still as good (or better) than they ever have been - or at least have some grand strokes within a larger work of art worth delving into more.

I am not just saying that their new album is good. Some of these tracks are REALLY good, and the overall album was surprisingly better than I was anticipating…though I am not sure I knew what to expect at all.

The lead song off the album “Hanging On Your Hinges” is a fantastic song. It is probably my favorite on the album just for the catchy rock guitar riff it has throughout. 

But unlike most 90’s rock bands, Stereophonics doesn’t just seem to rest on their laurels and pump out the same type of music they always have. In fact, I am not sure the Stereophonics are known for one particular sound, but in my head, they were always a bit more like a band like Filter, Soundgarden, or Jane’s Addiction, but that’s not really what I get from this new album overall…maybe in some spots for sure though.

Songs like “Forever” and “When You See It” might fit that bill, but there are songs on here that really go in different directions that helps shape the overall sound into something more complex.

I think a lot of people can hear a singer like Kelly Jones and immediately think something like, “Oh, they are just another corporate rock band like Nickelback…” (or something of the sort), but just because one or two turds spoiled the punch, it doesn’t mean that everyone with a similar sound is making generic rock music for money.

I could be wrong. Like I said, I haven’t followed Stereophonic’s journey that closely over the years, but they are a very polished, radio-ready band with lots of hits built into their catalog.

Another song that stands out on the album is “Right Place Right Time” which is a bit of detailed autobiographical song talking about the band’s journey over the last 30 years. It’s a bit of an Uncle Kracker sounding song to me, and it definitely goes heavy on the nostalgia factor, but somehow, the song is still pretty cool. I think if I heard it on the radio all the time, I would get sick of it, but as a non-single song, it is a good song.

Close Enough to Drive Home” is one of the better songs on the album, in my opinion. Lyrically and musically, this song has a charm about it that doesn’t seem to be written by a band that has been around for so long. It almost harkens back to the beginning or towards the beginning of the journey where a singer in rock band would have more “normal problems” than someone who has traveled the world playing big shows.

You wouldn’t even know this band is from Wales if you listened to songs like “Leave The Light On” - which could as easily fit into John Mellancamp’s catalog as easily as Stereophonics’ own tracks. 

Running Round My Brain” is another really driving song of that high energy that will get you pumping while listening to it. This is probably my second favorite song on the album. It’s got a very AC/DC sound to it, but it is a lot of fun to listen to.

You’re My Soul” has got a cool guitar riff in it as well. It’s off-time drumming is also a cool part that I really dig about the song. I will say the song drags on a bit longer than it probably needs to though.

All I Have Is You” is a more stripped down song that allows Jones to just play piano and sing through the emotion he wants to convey. It’s a good song with a lot of perfectly placed accompanying music from the rest of the band. The epic buildup is pretty cool too.

Within the 15 songs and just over 1 hour of music on this album, I feel like most rock fans will find at least 3 or 4 songs that they really like if they don’t like every song on the album, and that’s a sign of a band who knows how to be versatile and not just make the same repetitive songs over and over, in my opinion.

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