Welsh trio Stereophonics' fifth album dishes up seriously powerful hard rock that distinguishes itself in sound and attack from the band's earlier releases. With the exception of a few cuts (the pulsing ballad "Rewind," the expansive "Lolita"), LANGUAGE. SEX. VIOLENCE. OTHER? packs a remarkably ferocious punch. No one would claim Stereophonics are breaking new musical ground here, yet their combination of post-grunge (bringing to mind Foo Fighters and Alice in Chains) and tuneful Britpop (a la the Stone Roses and Oasis) is synthesized in a fresh, convincing way.
The opening track, "Superman," builds on an edgy, repetitive rhythm and two voices, one mid-range and one falsetto, before launching into the crunching rock verses of "Doorman," which downshifts to an understated, slinky chorus. The near-danceable groove of "Brother" provides the perfect backdrop for frontman Kelly Jones's fierce, raw-throated singing. The production--pristine, razor-sharp, and full of lush detail--sends every guitar solo and drum fill straight through the listener's brain. This is glossy hard rock that has all the right elements, and is stylish and well-packaged enough to seduce at first listen.
Mojo (Publisher) (p.88) - 3 stars out of 5 - "[F]ierce, minimalistic but definitely pop-sensible hard rock, with a fashionably mechanical sound colouring the rampant rifftasia..."