'A band who are hard to like but impossible to ignore'
You used to know where you were with Stereophonics. They would offer up a few mid-tempo plodders that painted two-dimensional pictures of life in dead end towns, and journalist-loathing frontman Kelly Jones would strain his vocals dreaming he was Rod Stewart in the Faces. All this would be done with such earnestness that we could hate them all day long. Then, a bizarre thing happened. In 2005, they released ‘Dakota’ – a really good, no-nonsense single – and an album of some merit. And they’ve only gone and done it again. ‘Pull The Pin’ has urgency, a sense of menace and though it deals with issues like war (‘Soldiers Make Good Targets’) and the London bombings, there’s little of the sanctimonious rhetoric Stereophonics of old were guilty of spouting. It’s an unapologetic rock’n’roll record by a band who are hard to like but impossible to ignore.