Saturday, 8 June 2013

Stereophonics 'Just Looking'

Chart Peak: 4


Kelly Jones, Richard Jones (no relation) and Stuart Cable have been playing together since their early teens - originally rehearsing in Stuart's bedroom... Featured in the soundtrack for British comedy This Year's Love, 'Just Looking' peaked at No.4 in the UK charts.
I don't know how many people remember the film nowadays, although it did produce two hit singles (David Gray's title song made the Top 20 when re-released in 2000). However, 'Just Looking' is better known as a single from the album Performance And Cocktails, and is pretty much exactly the point I went off them: having not liked them when I first heard of them, I rather liked quite a few of the singles and bought the first album on vinyl the week it was released. I was not wholly enthused by their next new song, 'The Bartender And The Thief' and although I'd entertained the possibility of buying a second album, by the time it actually came out I wasn't interested enough. Well, I did actually find some low-quality MP3 files of it (remember, this was 1999 so that was more unusual) and on the basis of those I felt justified in my decision.

It probably swung my decision somewhat that they were a band I'd never really warmed to. Even though I thought, and still think, the first album was a good piece of work, it didn't turn me into a fan. That debut's most distinctive feature was that most of the lyrics were derived from the events and people in the band's home town, and having mined that seam so thoroughly on one album Kelly Jones had to look elsewhere for inspiration on subsequent ones. Unfortunately, he never seemed to find much of it, and their career is full of self-consciously "classic" trad-rock that lacks lyrical and musical excitement. In fairness, heard out of context 14 years later, this track isn't as bad as I remembered. I hope that's not only because they made so many worse records after it. There's something rather trite about the lyric though, and the music plays its one card, the burst into a full electric band, fairly early on, so it has nowhere to go after that.

Note for coincidence fans: both The Cardigans and Stereophonics made their next Now appearances in collaboration with Tom Jones.

Also appearing on: Now 43, 45 [with Tom Jones], 48, 49, 51, 56, 60, 68
Available on: Performance And Cocktails

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