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Stereophonics Words Gets Around

Stereophonics Words Gets Around

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After the release of Word Gets Around, the Stereophonics blistering debut album, word did, indeed, get around, and rightly so. Firm adherents to the philosophy of "write what you know", Kelly Jones escaped the rural Welsh village of his upbringing and unleashed his remarkable songwriting talent on a world outside the valleys. The album title encapsulates its content perfectly - canny small-town observations rooted in real-life experience and drama. The setting is so insular that the rumours, gossip and stories have nothing to do but buzz round from lip to lip, reverberating off the surrounding mountains. Whereas contemporaries such as Super Furry Animals or Oasis may have exuded a more escapist vibe in their early songs, Jones immerses himself in the everyday events of small-town life and admirably demonstrates an unconditional love for the place he grew up. Possessing an ability to say so much with so few words, his songs are as emotive as they are mosh-inducing, nowhere more aptly demonstrated than in Local Boy in the Photograph's "He'll always be / Twenty-three / Yet the train runs on and on / Past the place they found his clothing," delivered with the kind of rusty-hacksaw vocal that belongs to Satan himself. Balancing this seriousness is a fine line in subtle humour, as displayed on the customer-service frustrations of More Life in a Tramp's Vest.