I’m a big fan of Stereophonics, having growing up listening to them and I will and always have a real appreciation for bands that play and make their own music. Stereophonics never seem to fall short in this aspect and Keep The Village Alive is no exception to this; the lyrics to all of their songs are just as beautiful and inspiring as they were in World Gets Around released back in 1997. Kelly Jones’s unique, powerful and husky voice alongside impressive guitar work has given Stereophonics a distinguished sound that has not been diminished by time.
Despite this, I can’t help but feel that the band just lack variety. Yes, they certainly know how to write an amazing ballad as well as an upbeat feel good soft rock song, but anyone listening to them would have to admit that they are confined to a certain type of song and that this type is replicated in every album they release. It is possible to modernise the sound of a band whilst still keeping the traditional, stronger elements of the music that makes the band a success in the first place yet to me, Stereophonics don’t seem to do this and especially not in Keep The Village Alive.
Adding to this, musically, Keep The Village Alive has nothing on the likes of ‘Maybe Tomorrow’, ‘Dakota’, ‘Mr Writer’, ‘Rooftop’, ‘Have A Nice Day’ and ‘Vegas Two Times’ which to me are some of the best songs the band has produced. I can’t help but feel that their latest album just lacks the power that previous albums have had and nothing particularly caught my attention with the new album if I’m being brutally honest.
The acoustic tracks at the end of the album were lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed these versions of ‘I wanna get lost with you’ and ‘you’re my star’. However, the majority of the songs on this album, though sticking to the traditional sound of their previous albums still can’t compare to the songs on Decade in the Sun: Best of Stereophonics. It pains me to say it, it really does, but for me at least Stereophonics are just past their prime and Keep The Village Alive has done nothing but prove this sad fact to me.