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By the time the Stereophonics released "Just Enough Education to Perform", their third album at a time when the band consisted of the original three piece of Kelly Jones, Richard Jones and the late Stuart Cable, they had just broken through into the big time. The band had gained a massive following after Word Gets Around had placed them firm in the Indie headlights and Performance and Cocktails had broken through further earning Brit nominations and putting the Welsh trio at the forefront of the British music scene.
Therefore, there was a high level of expectation around the launch of this album and despite, as always with the Phonics releases from here on in, it garnered much a critical slaughtering but remained a best seller, topping the album charts and containing a number of singles that form a key part of the Phonics repertoire to this day.
The album opens up with Vegas Two Times, a traditional up tempo rock number in all the traditions of the band. Often Kelly Jones has been criticised for moving away from signing about his Welsh roots and hometown tales and swapping it for tales of the big time and pointless lyrics but that has no bearing when the band are cracking out tunes of this calibre.
The second track signals the first in a number of tracks with a clear American influence that largely involve Jones alone with guitar, evidenced by the fact he did a small tour of America alone in the month before the album launched there with just himself and his acoustic guitar. "Lying in the Sun", "Step on my Old Size Nines" and "Nice to Be out" are wonderfully simple, lyrically great and sung with a clear passion by one of the best voices in the industry. Works a wonder and if you like this then don't hesitate in getting Kelly Jones solo effort which is a commendable album in its own right.
Mr Writer comes in third on the album and was the single used to launch the album in the UK. A simple, yearning medium pace song intended as Jones attack on critics who had spurned nothing but criticism on the band despite them growing increasingly popular. Along with the up-tempo, perfect sing a long summer anthem of "Have a Nice Day" JEEP contains perhaps the two most famous Phonics songs prior to Dakota sweeping them to number one a few years ago. The updated edition of the album also contains another notable and most remembered Phonics release, a cover of Rod Stewarts Handbags and Gladrags which is one of the better cover versions in recent times. I just wish the band would release their version of Sunny Afternoon by the Kinks!
Watch Them Fly Sundays brings back a rocky number that wouldn't have been out of place on the previous album and Everyday I Think of Money whereas Maybe and Caravan Holiday hint more at a bluesy side that would truly emerge on the follow up to this record.
The album goes out on a high note with the rocking Rooftop and after 50 minutes you are left with a wider insight into what one of the most popular bands in the country is all about.
All credit to the Stereophonics they have constantly tried and tested new styles, line ups and production work to create a a range of records and after breaking through this album launched that intention. A great range of songs present here with some classic Phonics tracks alongside some of the better album tracks from the bands years in the business. Essential for fans and something in there for everyone!
Also on CIAO
Stereophonics are one of my all time favourite bands. There first two albums were classic and I've seen this band live on a few occasions. This album, 'Just Enough Education To Perform' came out back in 2001 and was there third album. Could it live up to the first two? Well here is what I think of each song:
1. Vegas Two Times - A slow start before it explodes into life. This is real musical powerhouse, but somehow it does not quite hit the spot. The words are pretty average and the way Kelly sings is somewhat sloppy in my opinion. Its an OK start but not a massive hit song. 3/5.
2. Lying In The Sun - This one is a slower song. It has a nice melody and a good little riff running through it. However it really lacks any real drive and is just an average song. 3/5
3. Mr Writer - A good song. This is one they released that did quite well, however it does not sound like the songs they were pumping out two years ago. It is almost to refined, its lacks the cut and thrust they had. So yes this is a great song but it does not reach the heights of previous songs. 4/5
4. Step On My Old Size Nines - Another 'nice' song. Some clever lyrics and a nice melody. But its just a little average for me, there is nothing that makes this song stand out. 3/5
5. Have A Nice Day - Another really good little song but again it is just a little bland. Its not what Stereophonics are all about. Its just nice pop music, why are they bringing these songs out? 4/5
6. Nice To Be Out - This one starts off with a long intro and then the words kick in. I like this one, its still not a classic but the words are very good and there is a catchy sound to this one. 4/5
7. Watch Them Fly Sundays - This one starts of sounding like its gonna be good. Then it slows right down and settles into slow boring trash. the chorus redeems the song a little but its still a bit bland. 2/5
8. Everyday I Think Of Money - Its all gone wrong now. There is nothing good about this song, its bland and boring. Kelly kind of moans the lyircs like he is loosing the will to live. Filler!! 2/5
9. Maybe - This one is a little better, but not by much. Its still just bland pop rock music. 3/5
10. Caravan Holiday - No real improvement here. More bland rubbish. There is no drive to the song, it just meanders along without getting any where. Poor effort. 2/5
11. Rooftops - Well the band need a big big finish. They start with a very long intro. Then as the music kicks of we realise that its another slow pace one, oh no! However this one is a little better, I think Kelly really goes for it one this one and though its not a great song it does redeem it slightly. 3/5
Overall a big disappointment. For me the band never recovered from this album. It was all down hill from here on in. This album had few bright moments and loads of really bland music. As a big fan of the band I was gutted when this came out and it was so poor. Since then they have made the odd good song but most of there music has been pretty bland. Such a shame!
I absolutely adore the Stereophonics and have seen them in concert before (where they were amazing!).
I purchased this album for £2.98 from Amazon.co.uk in the January 2009 sale, what a bargain!
Here I will give a small review and rating out of 10 for each song.
Vegas Two Times: Starts with a small amount of talking, and some very calming mmmm's and then the guitar and drums kick in and then Kelly Jones starts his amazing crooning. The lyrics are singing about Las Vegas and leaving it. All the imitation people and the gambling culture. 8/10
Lying In The Sun: A very slow starter, Kelly starts singing almost immediately about wanting to lie in the sun and do the same things as anyone. This song was composed after Kelly Jones saw a man begging in Portugal and finished after he'd got back from a night out (found that out from the insert of the album). The instruments are so calming and smooth in this song and the lyrics are simple but fantastic. 8/10
Mr. Writer: The opening bars are just the drums with a few guitar notes and then the song begins to really flow. Kellys voice is amazing and it really shows in this song. The lyrics are talking about the press and how they line up names just so they can shoot them down again. This song did not go down well at all with the press when it was released and I think this partly meant that the Stereos took so long to become the massive band they are these days. An amazing song and one I never tire of listening to. This song has the longest running time with the exception of Rooftop at 5:19 but I could never get bored during that time. 9/10
Step On My Old Size Nines: This song has a very relaxed vibe, quite summery and Kellys voice just flows along with the guitar and the drums quite beautifully. The song has a great harmonica sounding piece and its just such a lazy day song that you could listen to whilst lying out in the sun. 8/10
Have A Nice Day: This song is incredibly catchy from the opening bar "ba da da ba ba da da da", it's one that I find myself singing constantly. The lyrics of the song are just trying to be positive and upbeat and its such an infectious song that I've found myself repeating it a few times today just because I love the tune and singing along (and knowing all the words if I'm honest!) 7/10
Nice To Be Out: At first I misread this song and thought it was called "Nice to be old" but when I first listened to it I really enjoyed the lyrics. They are pretty clear and easy to pick up, the tune is very easy going and this song just sweeps you along. I can't really make out what this song is meant to be singing about, its just a lovely tune and I enjoy that more than the lyrics. 6/10
Handbags and Gladrags: Very mellow and smooth, this song seems to be reminiscing about life and times that may have gone by. It's sung amazing by Kelly and definitely my favourite version of the song. The lyrics to this song are not included on the insert for the album and I assume thats because its the only song that they didn't sing themselves originally. 8/10
Watch Them Fly Sundays: A very loud, guitar filled song with loud drumming and lots of crooning. Kellys voice is amazing and it shows on every song but this is probably one of the best on the album, its a shame that it was never released in to the charts. 9/10
Everyday I Think Of Money: Kellys voice stands out the most on this song, far above the playing of the instruments and he sounds just amazing but I do feel that this song has a little bit of a "recorded in your garage" feel to it. Still a great song and Kelly is still amazing on it but I'm sure if they redid it now it would sound much better. The lyrics revolve around family and money and all the things that you can and can't do with money. Money can't buy you love etc. 5/10
Maybe: This is probably my least favourite song, it's a little boring and monotonous. I definitely prefer "Maybe Tomorrow" but hey, good things come to those who wait I guess! 3/10
Caravan Holiday: The guitar starts to play immediately and as soon as Kelly starts to sing I find myself drawn in to this song and finding out how it ends. The lyrics are nothing special, just singing about being away on a 7 day caravan holiday in June and all the things that went on. 6/10
Rooftop: This is the end song on the album and has a great feel to it, very rocky and a little dark in places. The band are really beginning to show their talent (some of it still a little raw in places) and the song is actually a little over 6 minutes long. However, if you leave it for another minute or so you then get to the second part of the song which is even better and I love albums with bonus features on them, makes me want to leave the CD in the player right until the end. 7/10
I am a massive fan of the Stereophonics and would definitely recommend their music to anybody, young or old. Their greatest hits album was released just before Christmas and was one of the most requested albums of all time, years before it was even released!
The album comes complete with a booklet which contains all of the song lyrics (except for Handbags & Gladrags) and contains little snippets from Kelly on where and when the song was composed and written.
I've never really been a huge Stereophonics fan. While I do pride myself on my eclectic music tastes, given the choice I do tend to lean towards jazz, soul, motown and rubbish 80s soft rock. Obviously when I was younger, I did occasionally dabble in indie music to look cool at school, but I've come to realise it's just not my thing. This is why I'd had no interest in the Stereophonics until this album - I just always thought they were too cool for me.
Imagine my delight, then, when they released their fantastic cover of Rod Stewart's "Handbags and Gladrags" in 2001. One of the few covers around that is notably better than the original recording, I soon started to admire the Stereophonics. Kelly Jones's rasping vocal gave a nod to Rod Stewart's version (which I appreciated, being a cheesy music fan and so loving Rod's work), whilst managing to make the song almost sexy. The arrangement was fantastic - successfully updating the original song, without trying to be too clever or cool, simply staying faithful to how the song was written whilst giving it a bit of a spit and polish.
I liked the Stereophonics' sound - a big fan of a masculine rasping voice (hence the love of 80s power ballads...) and the softer side of guitar-based rock, Handbags and Gladrags had raised my hopes for this album.
Now I'm afraid to say that when I got the album home, nothing surpassed "Handbags and Gladrags" for me. It is still a pretty good listen though. Highlights include "Mr Writer", which was released as a single. The single caused controversy because of its undisguised attack on the media with lyrics like "Are you so lonely? You don't even know me, but you'd like to stone me". Personally, I think Kelly Jones has a fair point.
Another great moment in the album is right at the start. Opening with some gently hummed harmonies, which give way to a huge guitar power-riff introduce us to "Vegas Two Times". A high-energy start to the album, this guitar-led track shows that there's another side to the Stereophonics than soft "Handbags and Gladrags"-style songs. Having said that, though, this is pretty much the only rock-y song on the album. The rest is much softer and more in the "Handbags and Gladrags" vein.
"Caravan Holiday" is a highlight for me. A slow, romantic number about a "seven day holiday in the rain with you". The song is absolutely only held up by Jones's great vocal - with a lesser singer, it would fall very flat. In a similar vein is "Step on my Old Size Nines", with lyrics that tell an anxious Jones being reassured by watching an old couple dancing. It's a good track, but is supported in a large part by the great vocals. I'm not sure it would work with a lesser vocalist.
"Every Day I Think Of Money" is a bit of a strange concept for a song, with a truck driver who steals some money he's driving around and goes to jail. An oddly moral tale, it is still quite a compelling listen, with a driving accompaniment throughout and another great vocal from Jones.
"Have a Nice Day" was a single from the album, and is a bouncy and upbeat track. I'm still not too keen on it after it was played to death on the radio, but I still find it listenable.
"Watch Them Fly Sundays" starts promisingly, with another piece of almost aggressive guitar before descending quickly into a very soft verse. It comes back into itself in the choruses, but the whole song is let down for me by the verses.
The album closes with "Rooftop", which has a bit of a lacklustre bonus track on the tail end. "Rooftop" itself is one of the better tracks on the album, with the decent guitar riffs being re-introduced alongside a bit of a worrying lyric where Jones thinks about jumping off said Rooftop. Still, it works really well to close the album.
The remaining tracks are all fairly similar - which brings me to a bit of a negative. Although this is a really listenable album, it is all a bit same-y. It's difficult to differentiate between tracks sometimes, and while the whole album works really well as background music, it does sort of crumble when you give it your full attention.
From a good start, we are taken to a bit of a shaky middle, with a one real stand out track and a couple of other decent moments, to a solid end in "Rooftop". It's not the best album I own, but I find that it sits fairly well on my iPod. While it can get a little dreary when listened to in one sitting, I find that I don't really skip past any of the tracks when I'm shuffled to them. The mp3 revolution works pretty well for this album - as the tracks are all fairly similar, I never mind listening to just one of them and getting a small dose of Kelly Jones's raspy tones. It's just unfortunate that it doesn't fare as well when taken as a whole.
Welsh rockers, Stereophonics, surprised their fanatical crowd with their 2001 album, Just Enough Education To Perform. To many, it was not the album that was about to punch the lights out of the music industry, and was seen, at the time, as a departure from their recent in your face attitude. Mellowed and introspective, this album was a relaxing massage to the mind and although it romped home to number one in the U.K album chart, it was accused of housing too many single releases to keep the rest of us English speaking public interested
Since the essence of their science is the sound of grunge mixed with stoned poetry, it was never to be to everyones taste. There are many of us thirty somethings that usually give this sound a wide berth. The Verve, perhaps, an exception and who ever is going to forgive me if I dont mention indie Gods, Oasis? So, when embarking on the journey that takes us through Just Enough.. is one of self discovery and denial. This band may have passed me buy, personally, yet, I still feel that I should pride myself in having at least one Stereophonics album in my abundant collection.
Saving themselves by escaping from Mid Glamorgan as fast as their little acoustic guitars could carry them, the three some made up of Kelly Jones, Stuart Cable (who left abruptly in 2003) and Richard Jones set upon a career of sullen poetical misbehaviour and decided to thrown it in a bucket to show the rest of England.
By the time, they banged their heads together to come up with this album in August 2001, they had already enjoyed mesmerising success with the already number one album, Performance And Cocktails, (1999) which was about as exciting as the titled suggested. Their first album Word Gets Around, (1997) spilled out sentiments of a mimic towards Radiohead and the like, and tragically, the true sense of this band was not altogether apparent until their single to following year, The Bartender And The Thief, their first top five single - the sparkling ingredient to Performance And Cocktails.
However better the previous two albums may be, some of us will still be contented with the line that we see on Just Enough The cheerful tune perfect for a dismal day, Have A Nice Day, reflects the uncertain future that we live in, in an odd way. A track that is soft, friendly and full of the pictures of rainy days, drenched from a bus hitting a puddle. In fact, you will find that that just may be the high light of the album, but it really depends on the mood that you find yourself reaching for this album in, in the first place. Again, this band has always been an acquired taste. A smile will come to the face for The Office, fans when the album features Handbags And Gladrags, a well covered track in the past by some big names, yet now will be akin with the cult T.V comedy drama series first sown on BBC2.
I found, I have to admit, difficult to find a pigeon hole in which to put this album in. Is not, as you might expect, on a par with any of their better work. The enlightening, humorous, Wouldnt Believe Your Radio, came much later after this album and I think if you have that idea in mind, then perhaps you may want to think twice about buying this album. If you have ever wandered into a vastly over sized record shop where upon entering, your ear drums are immediately given a bashing from some distorted noise coming from the over head speakers, then this album is probably what they are playing. I have to say that there are few tracks that stand out to be just noise. I have found that over a certain age, the brain wants to start experiencing instruments and the easy recognition of them.
The album does give a promising start, a chorus of perfectly tuned humming gives way to an explosion of what reminds me of Anthrax, (the band, that is, not the substance they use on cows..). This powerful introduction is enough to get the juices flowing, but by the time Jones sits back in his comfortable armchair, it all becomes too meaningless. Obsessed with rain, grey days and a bored mind, the musical content seems to follow suit. Before that, there seems to be spark of hope. What this band are capable of achieving as a connection with wistful moments when the mind drifts into a daily daydream. This effect takes hold in Lying In The Sun, which should be thought of when doing just that. Even the short lived, Step On My Old Size Nines, would have been given a more fitting touch if handed over to experienced frolickers, The Waterboys. A hint of harmonica is the touch that will have you raising your glass to nicer weather.
The ramblings of Nice To Be Out, fills the speakers with pleasing melodic, repetitive sounds and perhaps stands out as the one of the better tracks on this album. Kelly Jones inspires the mind with his unique style of rolling off a piece of prose that connects with each beat. Requiring no hidden extras, this track will not, suddenly jump out at you and surprise you with something to wont to hear. Perhaps, we really get down to the very fundamental approach to this album by the band in the cheekily titled, Everyday, I Think Of The Money. It all becomes clear, well, we all have to make a living as this album certainly did for the band, although the most discerning of listeners will still say that it wasnt their proudest moment.
If this band never record anything ever again, they will forever be remembered for over air play on our commercial radios stations. If nothing else, they have seen us through more rush hours that Chris Tarrant. Their melodic, grunge filled ramblings will be captured in time on a DJs turntable, somewhere locally. Such tracks from this album, if you really want to hear them, will be playing somehow, somewhere in the country right now, just turn the radio on
Have a nice day
Kelly Jones - vocals/guitar/
Richard Jones - bass
Stuart Cable - drums (replaced by Steve Gorman in 2003 from Black Crowes)
All songs written by Kelly Jones (except for Mr Writer and Handbags And Gladrags)
HMV - £7.99
Virgin - £13.99
Amazon - $2.95 (used)
2001 V2 music records
Ciao and dooyoo
So onto my third Stereophonics op and to be honest I think this is the weakest album out of the 4 they have made. The album contains some great tracks but there are a couple of fillers, which let it down. They obviously decided to try a new direction with this album and at first crack they didn’t quite get it right. Having built up a loyal fan base with the superb Performance and Cocktails and Word Gets Around, the Phonics may actually have lost a few with this offering. Band: Kelly Jones; Vocals, Guitar Richard Jones; Bass Stuart Cable; Drums The album opens with “Vegas Two Times”, a rather bizarre song to begin with, as there is almost a minute of general background noise and weapons being tuned, which isn’t really necessary. Before the guitars and drums come in and really get the album underway. It starts in a similar way to Roll Up and Shine on Performance and Cocktails, with a loud drumbeat accompanied by the guitar before the vocals come in. The vocals are almost mellow but the song sounds like it should be a lot more upbeat than it sounds. The next track is a mellower start with just the guitar introducing us to “Lying In The Sun”, a nice calm opening, which reflects the mood of the song. The drums and the vocal join in at roughly the same time accompanying the guitar intro from the start. The vocals are very relaxed and the lyrics of the song really stand out. This album makes for a good chill out album with songs like this enabling you to relax. The drum and guitar keep pretty much the same speed and beat throughout the song. Then we move on to the first single to be taken from the album and Kelly’s personal dig at certain reviewers who don’t particularly like the Phonics, “Mr Writer”. It’s a bit of a bizarre song, again relaxed but with a darker edge to it. Beginning with a slow drumbeat building up before the Bass and guitar join in for a
relatively long introduction. The vocals come in after a little while and really sound like the last couple of tracks. Not my favourite Stereophonics song, but it does grow on you eventually, which can’t be a bad thing, but it certainly wouldn’t be amongst my favourite tracks. The title of the album is also taken from the lyrics of this song. Another mellow track follows in “Step On My Old Size Nines”. It follows a similar sort of beat to the opening three tracks. It opens with the guitar and a mouth organ before being quickly joined by the drums and the vocals. It has a simple beat that carries the song along, with the vocals sounding much the same as the last tracks as well. I think they were probably in need of a break from each other as these tracks show almost a lack of inspiration. The song itself if not placed with a lot of other similar songs is a good track, with a solid beat and an easygoing relaxing vibe. Now we come to probably the most overplayed Stereophonics track of all time, “Have A Nice Day”, when I originally heard this album I thought it was a pretty good song but having heard it advertise every programme, newspaper and appear on ever compilation it has started to get a bit tiring. It opens with the vocals, guitars and drums all coming in at once. Picking up the pace from the last few tracks it is a welcome change. The vocals have picked up a bit and actually start to sound like the older Phonics stuff. A good track just a tad overplayed. The next track is probably my favourite on the album, “Nice To Be Out”, a former B-side it was made up to the full album after the praise it received. It’s a slower number, opening with a slow drumbeat gradually getting louder before first the guitars come in and then the vocals. It’s in a similar vain to Stopped to fill my car up but in a more serious mood with a recount of famous events throughout history. A nice easy going
track that doesn’t involve much thinking about and gets stuck in your head after a few listens. Moving on we now come to “Watch Them Fly Sundays”. It starts with another loud drum and guitar combination building up quickly before the vocals come in. The vocals drift along nicely with the guitars and this is another of the stand out tracks on this album for me. It mixes the mellow vibe perfectly with Kelly’s vocals and really makes for a superb song. There are hints in this song of what was to come in the new album. The lyrics again are good and easy to remember for those that like to sing along at gigs or in the car. The next track is, yep you guessed it another mellow track, “Everyday I Think Of Money”. It starts with the vocals right from the start with a faint drumbeat and a simple guitar intro. It’s basically about a guy who drives a Securicor van and dreams about doing a runner with the money in the back of his truck. The vocals are quite intense, but ease up a bit for the chorus and again the lyrics are well written, just with so many mellow tracks on this album it seems to get lost somewhere in the middle. With only three tracks to go we move on to “Maybe”. A bit more upbeat with the guitar and drum coming in at the same time before a short stint to the introduction of the vocals. Despite the more upbeat start to the track it still sounds a bit like all the others and really that losses a lot of the impact it has when you hear the song standing alone. Individually all the tracks on this album are good but it’s the way there all together that really brings the overall quality of the album down. the song has a good beat and is nice to sit back and listen to. Another of the songs that have grown on me since I first listened to the album has to be “Caravan Holiday”. Written around about the time of P&C this is another pretty mellow track. It starts with a
piano loop before the vocals come in and the bass echoing in the background. The tune really picks up with the introduction of the guitar. Basically the song is described in the title and unlike Feeders 7 Days in the Sun, the Phonics have gone for a rainy Caravan holiday. The vocals again sound good, added to by the quality of Kelly’s lyrics. The song keeps promising to lift of but somehow manages to stay relaxed and chilled out. So finally we have made it onto the last track, “Rooftop”. Starting with a sample before the guitar comes in with the vocals slowly at first building up a little bit as it eases into the track. The drums really give the song the kick it’s needed but still not enough to make it into that stand out rock track that the Stereophonics were becoming famous for. Another relaxed mellow track, reflected in the vocals lingering on in places. The introduction of the Harmonica adds something very rarely heard in albums by indie/rock bands. So there we go J.E.E.P. in all its glory or maybe partial glory. If you were expecting something of the quality of Word Gets Around or Performance and Cocktails you will be disappointed, but if however you have liked any of the singles or are just a fan of the Phonics then this is for you. Available from www.CD-wow.com for £8.99 and the new version includes the cover of “Handbags And Gladrags”. Tomorrow will be the last of my Phonics ops for now with the new album You Gotta Go There To Come Back. I have gone for 4 stars but really its more of a 3.5
I think that this album if the best so far from Stereophonics - it got even better when Handbags and Gladrags was added. I love the way they tell you when they wrote the songs (i.e - Step On My Old Size Nines was written in May 2000 after "a night out with a few mates"). When I first heard Stereophonics it was described as Indie music, but I don't think that that quite fits their image. If you like Travis, then you'll probably like Stereophonics too. Stereophonics mixes slower songs (i.e - Caravan Holiday) with more bouncy ones, such as Have A Nice Day. This is great because it doesn't matter what mood you're in - there'll be a track on this album to suit it. One slight disadvantage to the album, is that they have no pictures in it of the band, I guess that could be classed as good, as it shows they're not just another pop group, but who wouldn't want a picture of Kelly Jones??!? An advantage is that you can sing along to the songs - providing you can read their handwriting! The original lyrics are included, and although in most places you can use this to sing along, there are times when you can't. What I love most about Stereophonics is that they write all of their own music, who said they only had 'Just Enough Education to Perform'?! In my opinion, Stereophonics' 'Just Enough Education to Perform' is definitely worth buying if you liked their singles. My favourite track is probably Mr Writer, or maybe Have a Nice Day - they'll all pretty good! Just make sure that when you buy it, you get a copy with Handbags and Gladrags on it, after it had been re-released with this song.
The Stereophonics are back Just Enough Education to Perform is their latest offering. Having established themselves as one of the top British acts with two top albums what is in store this time with more experience and time to develop? Just Enough Education to Perform (JEEP for short) was released in 2001 as the original, but has since been re-released to include some new tracks. This is the third album from the Stereophonics since their first in 1997 they have come a long way. They are a three piece band; Kelly Jones lead singer and guitarist Richard Jones and Stuart Cable on drums. Their last album from 1999 Performance and Cocktails was also a huge success as has this been since its release. Well basically I have both this and the one before this and I am slightly torn. There are some great tracks on here, but maybe less so than on Performance and Cocktails. The overall feeling is less upbeat and rocky, something I personally do not like as much, but I was not exactly buying it for that. The writing of lyrics and music is very good I have to say that as one of the pluses. They are talented musicians and Kelly has got a good voice for this sort of thing. Generally there are not that many classics and the overall tone is too slow and dire for me to really enjoy. There are exceptions such as ‘Have a Nice Day’ which I did enjoy and ‘Vegas Two Times’ but a bit more of a disappointment. The whole CD and cover comes in a very dark green colour. The inlay has all the song titles and lyrics written down on pieces of paper in the bands handwriting with lots of little illustrations. This does make it damn hard to read all the lyrics though at least they tried. There are also little footnotes to say their inspiration for each track and how they all came about another nice touch. The price is the usual for a CD not too sure if it is any offers at the moment. Not too bad value if you can get hold of it for less
than a tenner but anymore and I would not recommend it. 1. Vegas Two Times Slow song to start off the album taking time to move out once it does begin like they are trying to warm up. Does kick in after about a minute of sitting around and turns out to be a good enough song with guitars and drums kicking off. Not that quick and the chorus is like whining. Do like the guitars backing through out though. 2. Lying in the Sun Slower and not that inspirational. Sad tone to the song ‘wish I could lie in the sun’, ‘wish I could fly like everyone’. Nice melody on this track, but not that catchy it is pretty bleak. Well sung and much less electric guitars and very little drumming. 3. Mr. Writer A single release off the album not that bad a song it is more catchy and has you moving along to it a bit more. All about the music critics in the business. Looking at some of the lyrics it is a protest song by the boys about the writers who criticize them. Not the best way to go about it, there are some clever lyrics but I would say to them get up and take the criticism like a man and get on with it no matter what people say. Very critical song. 4. Step On My Old Size Nines Slightly faster song that carries on going quite well with a beat. More acoustic guitars than the electrics of Vegas Two Times. The chorus is pretty good and again shows off the vocal talents quite well I like this song compared to other on the album 5. Have A Nice Day The original single off the album and the first new works I heard of them. Again I rather like this one and was one of the most important reasons that I did splash out on the whole album. Nice and catchy with the backing vocals ba-ba-ba-ba-ba that do keep playing in my head. Nice rhythm to the song all the way through. Repetitive but simple and well done. 6. Nice To Be Out Drums build up along with acoustic guitars.
Not my favourite one it does not flow along like the others and there are no clear chorus or verses. The lyrics are good if you read the inlay or listen carefully but nothing too memorable here. 7. Handbags and Gladrags Part of the new release album version that I have got. Seemed a bit bad of them to re-release it all over again at the start of the Christmas rush with just one thing new in it. And it is a cover version of that, Rod Stewart did a just as good version of this. Kelly even sounds a lot like him, so there really seems very little point. Nice song though. 8. Watch them fly Sundays Drones on a bit, before really threatening to get into life somewhere in the middle. Not one of my favourites it is another slow song that I feel drags on a bit. There seem to be good lyrics though I could not be bothered to read anything into them. 9. Every Day I Think of Money More emphasis on vocals than instruments. Kelly can sign and this is a good show of it. Slow, very slow but easy to listen to and not that unpleasant. 10. Maybe Starts off pretty nice with one of the better intros this is a feel of Stereophonics that I like. By this stage though it is starting to drag on though it sounds not unlike some of the earlier stuff they have done. 11. Caravan Holiday I hate caravans as a generalization, another bleak and down song. Very slow with an acoustic backing and more vocals. Not very entertaining and noting extraordinary. Easy again to listen to when you are laid back, that is a good idea but not an excellent song. 12. Rooftop Nothing spectacular to end the album to take my breath away. Again takes a long time before anything really gets going. The Rooftop is the top of a high building where someone is debating if to jump or not. Another pretty depressing take on life and a feeling taken up by the whole of the albun. Conclusion: Not too impress,
though I am pretty sure a fan of the Stereophonics would enjoy this. The music is off good quality but is too slow and downhearted for me to really enjoy. Given the things I liked in their earlier work and the time they have had they should have done something better.
I got this album for my birthday and I'm listening to it as I'm writing this. I have to say, if you're into indie/rock type music this would be money well spent. I'm into all types of music, but there's only so much pop and R'nB I can listen to without having regular bursts of indie. -I just love guitar and drums,-they rock! This album starts off well with a song that gets you in the mood for rock. Most the other tracks are more laid back and are excellent to chill to. If you are new to Stereophonics some of the tracks might sound somewhat similar, it takes a few run throughs before you get to know each of the tracks properly. "Have a nice day" is one of my favourite tracks on this album, it always puts me in a good mood; while "Handbags and Gladrags" is more toned down and always seems to make me want to sing. Quite a lot of tracks are like that on this album, even if you don't know the words you can easily chime in and hum along! It's excellent! Might get a bit annoying for anyone you live with though! Overall, I'm glad I got this CD, I've listened to it at least ten times already and haven't got bored yet.
The third album that is released by a band often determines whether they will be around for years to come or whether they will 'take a break'. For Kelly Jones writing the songs for his third album has been the defining moment of his career. The majority of tracks were written whilst on tour through the various parts of Europe and the USA and this comes through not only in the lyrics but in the tunes as well. The sound has matured a lot since 'Word Gets Around' and the progression has definitely been positive, as the 'true' sound of the Stereophonics becomes more apparent. This can only be good for a band that has some of the most varied musical influences from AC/DC to Bob Marley. It has become a Stereophonics trademark to start their albums with rousing rock tunes with the third album doesn't disappoint. JEEP starts with 'Vegas Two Times' which although didn't move me at first is now one of my favourite tracks on the album. I am not sure if it had anything to do with it but hearing it live definitely made me get a feel for the track and the atmosphere of the gig suited it perfectly. The tune is loud and fast but slow to start with excellent building up to the first lyrics. The track is slightly unusual as it was written in three bits. Firstly the music was written in the UK in October 1999 and then the lyrics were half written in January 2000 in Las Vegas and then finished in September 2000. The second track on the album 'Lying in the Sun' quickly became my favourite after reading the biography of the Stereophonics 'Just enough education to print'. The reason this impacted me so much was the fact that on hearing how the track was influenced it all suddenly made sense and I understood why the track had been in written. 'Lying in the Sun' is an excellent contrast to the pace of 'Las Vegas Two times' as it is much slower and concentrates a great deal more on the vocal. The song tells the story of a beggar man that Kelly encountered on a trip to Spa
in while he was waiting for a Taxi. The beggar is thinking what it is that makes him different and that all he wants is to be the same as everyone else. The line 'I spose I'm Lucky I can even see' is definitely the one that sticks in the mind as it shows that even though he has many problems and has to worry where his next meal is going to come from he can still look towards being positive. It is this sort of character development in the lyrics that makes the Stereophonics appeal to me. Each song is like a short story and the further into it you look the more of the story you hear. The real beauty of it is that everybody sees it differently. Next up was the critically destroyed 'Mr Writer'. Leaving themselves open to criticism as usual the music press went for the heart with the Stereophonics after hearing this track. The song is quite un-ashamedly based on the UK music press and caused outrage when it was put on the album. I suppose the problem was that a lot of people had been thinking what the 'Phonics were saying. 'Mr Writer, why don't you tell it like it is' is the key line in the song and for a time was the only line. The sleeve notes tell a story of a Friday night inspiration in the studio where the rest of the song suddenly arrived and the demo was recorded before going to the pub, true dedication if ever there was an example. 'Step on my old size nines' is the track that most people find easy to listen to when they first pick up the album. This must be because its just a song about normal life, people can relate to it in many ways but the way that I see it is the explanation of the way Kelly sees the world looking out. He is not a simple person and from the interviews I have read he seems to change quite quickly. He has sort of grown up even more with each album and this song shows that he is a lot more streetwise now. 'Have a nice day' is a tune very different to the rest of the album. The song is a tongue in cheek look at wha
t San Francisco described to Kelly as 'Corporate Consumerism'. The story of the lyrics came first and then the actual lyrics were written in October 1999 before being recorded for this album. My absolute favourite track on the album has to be 'Nice to be out'. Previously recorded as a B-side for 'Pick a part that's new' the tune tells the story of the promo tour in Germany for 'Performance and cocktails' with added bits of American tours as well. It's Kelly showing how lucky he is to be where he is a telling of what he's seen. I think that the fact that he has returned home in the song shows that there isn't a lot in him that's changed. 'Watch them fly Sundays' is a slower song again similar in feel to 'Mr Writer' but with a lot less of the attitude present. It's quite a moving song with lines such as 'I'm not drinking no more, not drinking no less, not sleeping at all, never in the same bed'. While a slower song it isn't depressing and is strangely refreshing, this is the new sound of the Phonics. Other tracks on the album include 'Everyday I dream of money' the tale of a prison van driver who wishes he was driving around money and not convicts. He then invents a story of stealing the money and tells of what he would do with it. After all of this he ends up in the back of his own van being taken to prison before he decides it isn?t really worth it after all. 'Maybe' and 'Caravan holiday' follow on the in the same vein before Stuarts favourite song off the album 'Rooftop' finishes it off with the tale of a man attention seeking with a mock suicide attempt encouraged by the crowd to jump off and the song is his journey down to the ground. Recently re-released with an extra couple of tracks including the new 'Handbags and Glad rags' as recorded with Mr Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra JEEP is an incredible album telling the story of a band who have toured the world and cemented their position as the biggest rockb
and in the UK. The music is the key, it isn't an image thing they're three lads from a small town in Wales with two friends they picked up on the way. The songs tell their own story and while their non-existent marketing schemes wont sell records the pure quality of the songs is enough as far as I'm concerned. Roll on the next album but don't come too soon I want time to listen to this one!
The latest album from the Stereophonics ‘Just Enough Education To Perform’ (JEEP for short) offers plenty of great sounds to listen too. This is the third offering from the superb band since there signing in 1996. ~ History ~ The Stereophonics picked up their record deal in 1996 after having been called ‘Tragic Love Company’ since they formed as school kids. The band is Kelly Jones, Richard Jones and Stuart cable. In August 1997 they released their first album entitled ‘Word Gets Around’. Soon after this they racked up three top ten hits from the album, ‘More life In A Tramps vest’, ‘A Thousand Trees’ and ‘Traffic’. There second album was called ‘Performance And Cocktails’ which was released in spring of 1999 and went straight in at number one in the charts and featured the hit singles of ‘Just Looking’, ‘Pick A Part That’s New’ and ‘Hurry Up And Wait’. Since then apart from writing this album and performing many gigs such as T in the Park they have also contributed on Tom Jones’s collaboration album ‘Reload’. This brings us to this album that was released on 9th April 2001. ~ The tracks ~ The album has 11 superbly written and well-performed tracks, they are: 1. Vegas Two Times- This is a great start to the album worthy as a contender for a single. This is what I would describe as a head movers/shakers song as the song builds into this. The music for the song was written in October 99’ and the lyrics in January and September in 2000. 8/10. 2. Lying In The Sun- Plenty of harmony in this one, slowly played and well sung, guitar entries in the song give more atmosphere in the song. The music was written in 1999, no idea when the words where written. 8.5/10 (couldn’t decide between an 8 or 9 for this). 3. Mr Writer- One I defiantly know that has been rel
eased as a single, good choice as well. I like this a lot as it has a mix of hard and soft melody used in the words. A head nodding and toe tapping song. No mention in the inlay booklet of when the words or music was written. 9/10. 4. Step On My Old Size Nines- The forth great song in a row. This is a mixture of slow words and slightly faster music that makes a great effect and another nice listening song. I think both the music and words where written in May 2000. 8/10. 5. Have A Nice Day- The first single off the album and a faster song than the previous ones. This probably sold the album in the numbers that it did and introduced me to the phonics. The words are easy to remember because of the fast speed of the song and the backing vocals help. Words and music where written in October 99’. 9/10. 6. Nice To Be Out- Another one of those that could make a single but probably won’t. Hard to describe but it is sort of a bit of a thumping song (not in the heavy metal sense). Written in January and February 99’. 8/10. 7. Watch Them Fly Sundays- A favourite of mine from this album. More melody than music again. Part way through the song gets a bit louder sets the tone for the rest of the song that I think is another great touched. Nothing is ever wasted by the band. Words and music written in June 99’. 9/10. 8. Everyday I Think Of Money- Quite vocal to begin with but lends itself into more music with the vocals, another one of those popular head nodding pieces by the band. January of some year. I love this song so its gets 9.5/10. One of the best. 9. Maybe- Like the last one this is worthy of almost being a ten of ten. The nice flow is interrupted by areas of little music but another head one to nod your head to (when are they not, rarely). I love the middle of the song when harmony is included for a time. Was written in August 2000. 9.5/10. 10. Caravan Holiday- Super song again, beats
me how you can write a song about a caravan holiday, they are so boring. Good song but little vibe but some good music pieces but may be more suited to other songs or better songs. Written in May and June 99’. 8/10. 11. Rooftop- The climax to a great album with a better than average song compared to others on the album, very classic sounding, a combination of Oasis and the Beatles from my perspective. Very good use of music and the lyrics aren’t have bad either. No indication of when it was written. Worthy of 9/10. As already mentioned the album was released on 9th April 2001. My favourites are 8 and 9 but a love several others such as ‘Have A Nice Day’, various reasons amount this such as bad bits in the middle of songs. Although this is the only album I have from the band I already think they ar5e great and I may get the other two that I do not have. The album includes an enhanced CD-ROM featuring two acoustic videos (live) of ‘Step On My Old Size Nines’ and ‘Lying In The Sun’ as well as two video interviews of the band about the production of the album and the inspiration of the tracks plus a chance to download music to play and the lyrics. One thing that I found with the videos is that you can have the music/interviews to fast forward and sound a bit like Tweety Pie, worth the 10 quid just for this laugh, brilliant. Plenty of information on the band and other stuff can be found at: www.stereophonics.com The website is based on the design of the album packaging at the moment and is easy to navigate with an easy to navigate index page. I found plenty of information when I first used it. Some of the information I used to make up this opinion was obtained from the website such as past album stuff and singles. www.v2music.com This site lists all of its signed bands and you contact and connect to loads of information. Available in several la
nguages for different countries with easy to use navigation of all areas including a free stuff area that I will check out as I am an avid freebie hunter. Worth a look as it looks quite impressive. ~ Packaging and CD Design ~ This is my favourite CD design in my collection. The front cover of the inlay reminds me of the 60’s as the wording is written in a style than reminds me of ‘Happy Days’ and the Wurlitzer. It is green with band name and album name on. The background is set to a Jean like material pattern. The back of the inlay has the list of tracks in the style that the lyrics where written on a scrappy paper background. Inside the inlay there are the lyrics in there scrappy written design that they where jotted down as with an explanation of each. These pages include a background but I could not describe this. At the end of this there is a list of the people and companies involved in the making of the album. The CD is as the cover is with the lyrics written around the edge and the words of album and band written around the disk in a round vinyl style (although it is not actually a vinyl disk). Underneath the CD clip a rough version of the front cover is drawn in green on scrappy paper background. On the back of the case the lyrics have been written on that material background that the front was on. ~ The band and production team for the album ~ The band is as follows: Kelly Jones- guitar and singing Richard Jones- bas and harmonica Stuart Cable- drums All the songs are written by Kelly Jones except ‘Mr Writer’ that is also written by Marshall Bird. The album is published by Universal Music Publishing, produced and engineered by Bird and Bush. All the tracks were recorded at Real World Studio in Bath and at Monnow Valley Studios, Monmouth. Mixed at Soundtrack Studios in New York. The enhanced CD was produced in October 2000 with the band.
The logo and artwork was by Mr. Murdoch at Satellite and Kelly. Logo courtesy of Buckles of America. ~ How does this compare to their other albums ~ I don’t know how this compares; I personally think it should be better than previous albums because they have more experience behind them. Singles from other albums have been on a par with this in my view; I may up date later to compare the other albums as and when I get them. I expect the first album to be not as good as this one as it took some time for the band to become well known after this album was released. ~ Final verdict on JEEP ~ This is a superb album and I think there is plenty in the band yet for the future. I have given the songs fairly high scores (never under 8/10). I would strongly recommend you buy this album as the music is bliss in places and funky in others. A lot of effort and time has been taken to produce this first class album. I got the album from HMV for around £10 and it is great value. TIP: it may be at www.cd-wow.com for cheaper, other albums have been cheaper here than on the high street.
The new album from The Stereophonics was released in the spring of 2001, and the pre release hype promised a more mature sound, and more instruments, and more styles of music. “Vegas Two Times” is a strange choice for opening track, as it really takes a while to get going. The intro leads you to believe that it will be a gospel influenced track, and then the heavy guitars kick in, and you breath a sigh of relief that the Welsh boys have not gone all soft! It is followed by “Lying In The Sun”, which has a beautiful melodic intro, which coupled with Kelly’s gravelly voice makes for good listening. This is a mellow, laid back track with some catchy hooks, and it allows Kelly to deliver the brilliant lyrics so they hit the right spot. “Mr Writer” was the debut release from the album, and was rumoured to be a dig at the media. While it was not immediately likeable, it is now one of my favourites. The chorus to this laid back song will stick in your head, and the rest of the band balance Kelly’s vocals with their excellent musical arrangements, especially the guitars. The subsequent single release, “Step On My Old Size Nines” was a big disappointment for me. It is a nothing song, with a slight country and western influence, and as much as I want to like it, I just can’t. I even know I am in a tiny minority, so sorry to fans of this song! “Have a Nice Day” sounds like it is too repetitive on first listen, but please do not dismiss it. It raises the tempo after the last few songs, and is a great song, and it sounds very much like early Stereophonics material. The tempo changes again with “Nice To Be Out”, and this has to rate as the poorest track on the album. Kelly is mumbling over the music, and I know he is capable of much much better. Keeping it mellow with “Watch Them Fly Sunday’s”, and the lyrics to this are some of the strong
est in the whole collection. It is something of a love song because the words are so meaningful and are so thoughtful. The same cannot be said for “Everyday I Think Of Money”, however, that is not a criticism. This is a song with it’s tongue firmly in the cheek. The lyrics are witty, and it is good to see the boy’s trying something new. “Maybe” sounds like so many other Stereophonics songs before it, but just not as good because it does not have the certain something to make it anything more than just an average relaxed tempo track. I am worried that the standard of the tracks is plummeting very quickly, because the next track is dire. “Caravan Holiday” is a very poor track which screams “filler” from the first muttered words. It is miserable, and does not belong on this album. Will the final track redeem the album? I am glad to say that “Rooftop” is up to the job. It is the story of a suicidal person on a rooftop threatening to jump, and how crowds of people stop to see if he goes through with it. Although the hype promised lots, the band failed to deliver, and for me this is not a patch on their previous releases. There are no real stand out tracks, and they are all heading towards the middle of the road with alarming speed, and I was left feeling a little bit short changed, and the word bland springs to mind. It seems like the group are bored with writing classic tunes, and are just churning out emotionless songs. I may sound harsh, but I expected something so much better from such a talented bunch of musicians.
Three albums in, and Stereophonics have written their first truly mature work, Just Enough Education to Perform. While the Cwmaman trio's first two albums were blighted by the occasional spot of facile pub-rock tub-thumping which served only to dilute Kelly Jones' emotive laments into ear-candy, Just Enough Education to Perform evokes the ragged croak of Rod Stewart or the world-weary country lament of Neil Young without feeling the need to unnecessarily embellish its content. It's not all good: the album's first single, "Mr Writer"--a stab at dismissive music journalists--is, ironically, petulant and unwieldy, spoilt by Jones' clunky lyric: "You've just enough, in my own view, education to perform/ I'd like to shoot you all." Far more successful are the simple semi-acoustic readings of "Nice To Be Out", "Step on My Old Size Nines" and "Lying in the Sun", which prove that, stripped-down, Jones can match most singer-songwriters of an alt-country persuasion without breaking into a sweat. By this time in their career, Oasis began losing themselves in bland bombast and a fog of hollow guitar solos; to its credit, Just Enough Education to Perform does not let fame cloud the clarity of its meaning
As soon as I bought the album,Just Enough Education To Perform,the inevitable questions began running through my mind.Would this album be able to match up to the standards of its predecessors,Word Gets Around and Performance And Cocktails?Would it let every Stereophonics fan down and be what nobody really expected or hoped it would be?Fortunately,there isn't reason to be disappointed as soon as you hear it.Opening with Vegas Two Times,a track that restores every faith in the mind of the average Stereophonics fan that thankfully they haven't lost their 'rock' edge.Combined with the enigmatic sounds of guitars and drums,the rather ambitious addition of gospel singers and the faultless voice of lead singer Kelly Jones,Vegas Two Times makes a first class opening track.We can see however how Stereophonics have matured as a band and while we all love timeless classics like The Bartender and the Thief and Too Many Sandwiches there is this certain effect that Just Enough Education To Perform has on you.When you hear tracks such as Lying In The Sun,Caravan Holiday and Rooftop the listener will almost certainly find themselves with the same lump in their throat that they found listening to Billy Davey's Daughter for example.Lying In The Sun has the ability to capture a side to life many of us will often take for granted but after listening to this deeply moving track you cannot help but wish there was more we could do in this world.Everyday I Think Of Money is a subject we can all relate to and contains great irony-which as with Lying In The Sun makes us appreciate and reflect on the lives we do lead,no matter how bad we think they may be. As always there is a happy go lucky song in Have A Nice Day-the ideal song to wake you up in the morning.You'll also recognise Mr Writer-the phonics tongue in cheek ode to journalists.Overall,I cannot recommend this album enough-if you are looking for deep thought expressed by a voice that could make the hairs on the
back of your neck stand up than what are you waiting for?Add Just Enough Education To Perform to your collection now!
kelly jones summed it up best in the song mr.writer. After reading a few reviews of this, then reading the reviews on here and in kerrang, there were two types of opinion apparent of this album. One that it was bland and lacked musical genius of word gets around or performance... how wrong could these critics have been? saying the phonics had "done a be here now" or slagging off kelly jones. A band cannot continue to be either successful or interesting if they stay to the same old formula time and time again. The phonics three albums just show how they have successfully moved on and changed style with each album, as they have matured. This band really have got something going for them and are going to be with us for a very long time. So give up music critics, and start telling it like it really is, tell it like it always is, in the case of the best band this country has ever produced. From the moment I heard lying in the sun at the phonics first date at birmingham NEC arena in december 1999, I knew this album was going to be world class, and yes believe it or not, even better than the first two Stand out tracks include....well let's see...all of them, but my personal favourites are lying in the sun, mr.writer, and step on my old size nines. But the whole album just gels together perfectly. You may have to listen to it a few times, but each time it will grow on you more and more until you realise, this is album of the year already. Good luck boys, and I think it's safe to say congratulations on another number one, world class beating album.If only every band could be as good as this...... Do yourself a favour and buy this album, or your cd collection with have a very, very large hole in it.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Vegas Two Times
2 Lying In The Sun
4 Step On My Old Size Nines
5 Have A Nice Day
6 Nice To Be Out
7 Handbags and Gladrags
8 Watch Them Fly Sundays
9 Everyday I Think Of Money
11 Caravan Holiday