Photo by Scarlet Page
Stereophonics’ Oochya! album is a fresh take on a classic sound, combining their long-standing alt-rock style with the confidence of a band with eight number one albums under their belt. The success of the album is unsurprising in light of its contents; from start to finish, the songs are undeniably strong. The lead single Hanging On Your Hinges sets the headbanging precedent which lasts the entire album, until it ends with the softer Jack in a Box. Other notable moments from the album include the punchy Do Ya Feel My Love? and Forever, both of which carry an electric energy that has been Stereophonics’ signature since the ‘90s.
Although the album has a cheerful feel to it overall, the foursome combine a lot of varying styles and elements that proves that after 25 years, they are still staying fresh and experimental. ‘Formulaic’ is not a word that comes anywhere near to mind when listening to this album, with its mix of rock and soul influences. Everything from the songs to the pop-art cover suggests a sense of triumph and progression that is fitting for an album celebrating a band’s 25th year together.
The band’s April 1st performance at the London O2 Arena did the album’s passion justice. Playing to a crowd of adoring fans, old favourites and newer tracks were received with equal fervour. The show built up as the band seemingly fed off the crowd’s energy and vice versa, culminating in fan-favourite Dakota that ended with the crowd in a frenzy. Other popular numbers such as Have A Nice Day and Handbags And Gladrags were also featured on the setlist alongside the newer Oochya! songs.
Frontman Kelly Jones gave a strong performance that endured through the entire show, his vocals backed up equally by both his band and his quintessential no-nonsense Welsh attitude. Rockstar meets everyman in the easy confidence exuded by this band, who worked seamlessly together, almost as if they weren’t in front of an arena of people. This coordination showed in Jamie Morrison’s drum solo at the end of the catwalk, surrounded by his bandmates as he switched between drum kits without a hitch. The use of the entirety of the stage showed the band’s connection to the crowd, which was reciprocated heartily. Anytime a hand was raised or a foot fell on the catwalk, the roars of appreciation would overpower the music.
You can definitively conclude that Stereophonics are celebrating their 25th anniversary in the most suitable fashion with this tour and album combination. If their performances continue on the same level, their shows can be classified as unmissable to not just any Stereophonics fan, but to any fan of rock music. They made their mark on London by taking the roof off the O2 without the help of a storm.
Edited by Talia Andrea, Music Editor