Byline: GAVIN MARTIN
Nine years since they formed in Cwamaman, South Wales, Stereophonics have worked hard to sell in excess of seven million albums. Their fifth release is the first without drummer Stuart Cable, the band's party animal, ditched in favour of Argentinian recruit Javier Weyler.
It is a change that has not unduly rocked the world of Stereophonia and, if anything, frontman Kelly Jones has used the departure of the boisterous Cable to emphasise the Stereophonics' core values.
Naturally there are allusions to progress. This is apparently the first album the group have made without recourse to funny herbal cigarettes. Jones has also sought to make a modern sounding record, using all the techniques learned over the years since their 1997 Word Gets Around debut.
So there's a few tweaks, a couple of nips and tucks, but even a besotted Stereophonics fan would have to admit it is not a radical break with the past. The familiar comfort zone beckons - sneering self-pitying voice, the big bombastic guitar-led tunes and words that point a furious finger at a range of targets.
To be fair, why would Kelly want to upset a winning formula? It is a set-up that has given him a close compact with his fans. …