British band bends toward ROCK sound

Stereophonics' tune changes with latest album

Just when you have a fix of where the British rock trio Stereophonics is headed musically, the band pulls a surprise out of the bag - and a very rewarding one at that.

After exploring a varied sound that included brass, orchestral, country jazz dashes and heavy blues elements on its past two albums, the Stereophonics discarded much of its sonic baggage for a sharper rock focus on its fifth and latest album, "Language. Sex. Violence. Other?" (V2 Records).

Certainly, a rock spirit has long been the cornerstone of the Stereophonics music. But whereas the group's recent past efforts, 2001's "Just Enough Education to Perform" and "You Gotta Go There to Come Back" in 2003, possessed an ambling quality, "Language. Sex. Violence. Other?" - which borrows its title from movie rating warnings - is much like boarding a train for a high-speed rail trip that only eases as it approaches the album's concluding tracks.

"The difference between the sound in this record and the last record, I think, shocked a lot of people," says bassist Richard Jones.

"Because they might have been expecting another like "Maybe Tomorrow" (from 'You Gotta Go There to Come Back'), that type of like slow, mid-tempo stuff. ... So a lot of people were like 'great, that's really good.' They really couldn't say anything else."

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British Band Stereophonics' fifth album "Language. Sex. Violence. Other?" has more of a rock edge than its past albums. The group will appear tonight at The Bottleneck in Lawrence.

"I think the record is inspired by lots of different things," says singer/songwriter/guitarist Kelly Jones. "You know, stuff we listened to when we were a lot younger. Like early Elvis Costello stuff, like 'Watching the Detectives.' Pearl Jam kind of punk stuff as well. Loads of stuff, really."

"I think a lot of the sounds come from what we remembered of punk bands and what they sounded like, and what instruments they used," adds Richard Jones. "Remembering back and just kind of go 'ah, so that's what they used.

Perhaps we can get a sound like that if we got this or that."'

Past Event

Stereophonics / Augustana

  • Sunday, May 29, 2005, 8 p.m.
  • Bottleneck, 737 New Hampshire, Lawrence
  • All ages / $11

More

The Stereophonics group dynamic changed after "You Gotta Go There to Come Back." The Joneses (no relation) parted company with their friend and original drummer Stuart Cable. In came Argentinean-born drummer Javier Weyler, who brought a fresh vitality to the backbeat. After a bit of early preliminary work with the band before heading into the studio, Weyler took up residence behind the drum kit. And the band was off and running on its new album.

"We had a really good feeling about it, especially because the 'Dakota' and 'Superman' were the first two completed demos," recalls Kelly Jones. "They set the standard for the whole record. And then we had the flip side of those tracks like 'Doorman,' 'Girl' and 'Brother,' which are this trashy, almost punky things. The only challenge was how to make all that sound like one album. It kind of did it itself in the end. It wasn't too much effort."

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