Stereophonics - Madame Helga
Stereophonics - Madame Helga (released 19.05.03)

Tom Jones' backing band of choice have perhaps now displaced Oasis as the UK's best-loved trad-rockers. They may not have created an album that defined an era like 'What's The Story', but their debut release 'Word Gets Around' contained enough outstanding moments to gain the 'phonics a footnote in rock history.

Their fourth and latest album, 'You Gotta Go There To Come Back', is an important point for the band who need to prove they are more than the sum of their seventies rock influences, otherwise they are in danger of becoming as repetitive as Noel and Liam.

Stereophonics @ www.contactmusic.com

The first single, Madame Helga, to be taken from the prospective album is a slightly disappointing sign. The thudding Led Zep bluesy rock out is certainly not bad, but it is a long way from inspired, with Kelly Jones' retro influences more pronounced than ever.
Alternatively, perhaps we should be grateful that they played safe. The single was inspired by a woman Jones met in Sri Lanka, so at least after his trip to Asia he has not returned with a new found love of the sitar.

Gavin Eves




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