Wednesday 9 February 2005

confusion's familiar...

I heard a fantastic new song in the car on the way to work this morning. It was slightly fuzzy sounding but had the most fantastic guitar lick that I have heard all year. I parked up and headed into the office with a real spring in my step and a big smile on my face. It was that good - one of those songs that sends a little shiver down your spine and reminds you all over again why music is so fantastic.

A cause for celebration then.

So why did it leave me feeling a bit confused?

I'll tell you why: because the song was Dakota by the Stereophonics.

Yup. The Stereophonics for Christ's sake. The kings of lazy trad rock bollocks.

I used to quite like them. I own their first two albums and songs like "Local Boy In The Photograph" and "Just Looking" are genuinely good songs, I think. Then something went wrong and they stagnated - even if they were far more successful than they had ever been. For me it started the first time I heard "Mr Writer". Writing a song about a journalist who gave you a bad review is pretty weak, in my books, and things only got worse from there. The success of "Handbags and Gladrags" only seemed to encourage them to play it safe. "Have a Nice Day" and "Step on My Old Size Nines" were just more of the same. They even sacked their comedy drummer. They played Glastonbury in 2002, headlining the Saturday night, and I actively avoided them (Rod Stewart roundly took the piss out of them the following night when he reclaimed his song from them as he closed the festival on the main stage - they played it as an encore; Rod played it about second song in....). Actually, I have fond memories of the Sterophonics being onstage. They drew a big crowd, so it was a great time for wandering around other parts of the festival, and I was soon rewarded for missing their set with the sight of a ballerina performing whilst hanging suspended from an illuminated hot air balloon being slowly walked through a field.... a really magical festival moment.

And now they've produced this, and I take my hat off to them. In fact, I've just put my 79p where my mouth is, and have gone to ITunes and downloaded it. On second listen, the lyrics don't sound great (and they are the most recognisably Stereophonics part of the whole thing). That guitar is just excellent though.

Worth a look.

Now all they need to do is bring back the comedy drummer, ridiculous hair and all....

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