Just Enough Education to Perform Label: V2 Ada
Where the hell have the Stereophonics been hiding? For no good reason, these three lads from Wales have managed to hover just below American radar for some half a decade. Just Enough Education to Perform came out a few months ago, and it follows close on the heels of their 1999 gem, Performance & Cocktails. The attitude is brash but somehow light-hearted, the themes are often alcoholic, and the songs are splendid. From the Black Crowes rhythm and stomp of "Vegas Two Times" to the psychedelic jam "Mr. Writer," Stereophonics pull from the post-Brit Pop styles of Blur as well as Americans like Stone Temple Pilots and Cracker.
Kelly Jones's uniquely scruffy vocals were made for being heard across a dingy pub. Toss in a full-bellied harmonica and occasional piano part and most of these songs become fast favorites. "Have a Nice Day" was built for radio, while the lazy "Step On My Old Size Nines" will have you wearing out the REWIND button after the first listen! Some goofy lyrics might confuse the potency of other highlights like "Watch Them Fly Sundays," but nothing ultimately gets in the way here. The careful attempts at varying tempos, changing moods, and never drowning a song with too much of any single instrument keeps Just Enough Education to Perform as smartly fresh as any new record out there.
This latest Stereophonics effort is modern and clean, fun and instantly catchy. Sometimes you come across a record that you'll enjoy so much, you end up going back and buying several others from that band's catalog. If that's the case, make way for a few Stereophonics CDs in your collection!