Coming dead last in the originality race (tied with Jet of course) is Kelly Jones and his now two-man band, Stereophonics. Everybody's favourite student-band-when-they-were-a-student, Kelly and co. haven't changed much over the years. In fact, they've not changed one solitary bit. Well, almost. It's a new year, so out with the old (Stuart Cable) and in with the new (a synthesiser).
That's right, all must be wrong with the world when the Welsh warblers pick up a synth. Having not-so successfully re-invented themselves as some sort of pseudo glam-funk band with last year's 'You Gotta Go There To Come Back', it looks like they've finally started to explore the studio a bit more.
And so enter 'Moviestar'. No, not a cover of Suede's 'Film Star', but a throbbing, squelchy synth-laden song about not knowing who you are, or being a movie star, or something like that. As always in Stereophonics songs, there's Kelly's deep-throated drawl, big riffs and some pretty poor lyrics - "Give me a reason / give me a rhyme / do anything for you / just give me a sign". In some parts though, the song sounds pretty good, with the riffs being as large as departed drummer Stuart Cable's legendary mop, but it all sounds like a band trying too hard to be different (e.g. Oasis) when all they're good at is the same old same old.
Apparently this song was recorded in 24 hours, and it certainly sounds it too. Although the drumming goes quite Led Zep at one point, the rest of the song falls short and ends up sounding like a boring album track you always skip.
Also present on the CD is a live version of 'Bartender & The Thief', everyone's favourite rock-song-that-got-big back in 1998/99 when it came out. Although now, several years later, after total media saturation (TV, radio, films - they all played it to death) it sounds pretty average. Kelly even sings 'The Ace Of Spades' by defiantly ugly and always-as-bad Motorhead at one point. Ugh. Last track 'Help Me (She's Out Of Her Mind)' is yet another live track, and lasts for 10:44, so I'm not exactly thrilled at the prospect of spending anymore than the required 3 minutes for a Stereophonics track, but I guess it's not that bad.
Anyone who likes The Stereophonics will probably like this, and for the other 95% of the population, it's business as usual.