I’ve always loved the Stereophonics. I like the way that, despite their swift development into a stadium band, they’ve never lost sight of where they came from. Twenty years in the business and they’ve still managed to hold on to that village mentality, rather than becoming pampered and aloof.
When their last album came out I felt I should give something back at last. Show my appreciation for everything they’ve done for me over the years, by writing a review on Amazon. The problem is I’m not good with words, and so didn’t feel confident in being able to express just what they mean to me. So that I could do them justice I decided to look for inspiration from the experts: music reviewers at The Guardian.
Kelly Jones’s boys have had a mixed relationship with that newspaper. One reviewer criticised them for ‘lacking flair, alchemy and imagination’:
2009’s Keep Calm and Carry On was described by one critic as ‘ambition-free’:
For some journalists the band’s lack of pretension seems to be their chief grievance. Jones’s plain-speaking style has been attacked as ‘stringing together cliches’:
Their detractors, with whom this reviewer appears to identify, might label the band ‘purveyors of musical gruel’:
It is often this very down-to-earth nature of the songs which critics object to. The reason so many love the band is that, despite their success, they can still write songs about day-to-day issues that we can all relate to. In the eyes of one wordsmith this humble subject matter is a sign the band are so concerned about appearing fake that their music ‘has ended up wilfully grey and dull’:
And yet, all these criticisms taken into account, the newspaper’s writers have to recognise the band’s commercial success. Whatever the superior judgements of professional writers, they can’t deny the simple fact that this is a band who have ‘proved themselves’:
Inspired by my reading I wrote several drafts of a review, deleted each and started again. In the end I went for plain honesty. ‘I liked this album’, I said. This wasn’t enough characters, so I said that I ‘really’ liked it, this latest album CD by Welsh British rockers band formed in Cwmbran in… Some copying and pasting got me up to the minimum.
It wasn’t a great review, but it was my first. And who knows, with a bit of practice maybe I can one day be as good with analogies and as skilled a user of adjectives as a music critic at The Guardian!