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Music Review: The Stereophonics – Decade In The Sun

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In September this year The Stereophonics released their sixth studio album Pull The Pin. They are currently on a major tour in America, their first in three years. To add to this period of frenetic activity, they have also released a greatest hits collection entitled Decade In The Sun.

It is high time too that their remarkable ongoing success is underlined by such a well put together compilation. Decade In The Sun celebrates the fact that the Welsh trio have achieved phenomenal sales of over nine million albums during their career.

Kelly Jones, Richard Jones, Stuart Cable, and his replacement Javier Weyler have also enjoyed twenty-one UK top 20 hits, with eleven of them reaching the top five. Five consecutive studio albums all reached number one and are currently in the process of being re-released.

Decade In The Sun does not run in chronological order and is, in fact, all the stronger for it. The nineteen track set opens with their only UK number one hit, the excellent “Dakota”. The collection then embarks on a superbly balanced trip through the career of this highly successful band.

With any compilation there will always be discussion regarding what’s included against the merits of those that don’t make it. However with Decade In The Sun there is definitely enough here to satisfy the vast majority of the band’s followers and admirers alike.

Add to that the fact that the content of the album was actually chosen by the band itself, not as common as you would like to think, and you have that magic integrity lacking in many similar releases.

Some of their earlier material such as “A Thousand Trees” and “Local Boy In The Photograph”, shine just as brightly as they did on first play several years back. They are all here, “Mr. Writer”, “Have A Nice Day”, and “Handbags And Gladrags”, among many others.

The set includes the harsher rockers such as, “The Bartender And The Thief” and “Vegas Two Times”. They sit comfortably alongside other, more subtle, tracks that really capture the 'Phonics at their captivating best. “Just Looking”, “Step On My Old Size Nines”, the memorable “I Wouldn’t Believe Your Radio”, a personal favourite “Traffic”, or “Maybe Tomorrow” all act as powerful reminders of the type of quality on offer. 

The new single from Pull The Pin, “It Means Nothing”, makes a welcome appearance giving the collection a contemporary feel. The impossibly addictive "You're My Star", which will be familiar to anyone who has seen the band perform live recently, is also included.

To choose the best tracks from albums as successful as their 1998 debut, Word Gets Around, 1999's Performance And Cocktails, 2001’s Just Enough Education To Perform, You Gotta Go There To Come Back two years later, and 2005’s Language, Sex, Violence, Other? is no mean feat. The Stereophonics have managed to do just that.

Decade In The Sun is a timely release from a band who have provided a wealth of music that has helped form the musical backdrop to a generation. On the strength of this it is little wonder that they found such an eager worldwide stage.

Check all the latest Stereophonics news on their official website or their MySpace profile.

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About Jeff Perkins