Performance (& Cocktails)
Release date: 27 October 2017
UK chart peak: #2
Running time: 46:29
Singles: All In One Night, Caught by the Wind
Scream Above the Sounds had a mixed response from critics, but was still a hit with fans. It had a varied international performance, reaching the top ten in three other countries: Ireland (#9), New Zealand (#6), and Scotland (#1). Elsewhere it held various positions in the top 100.
In the weeks surrounding Scream Above the Sound‘s release, albums by Liam Gallagher (As You Were), Pink (Beautiful Trauma), and Michael Ball & Alfie Boe (Together Again) reached the top spot in the UK, with Ed Sheeran’s ÷, Robert Plant’s Carry Fire, and Colors by Beck all featuring in the top ten. Rockstar by Post Malone ft. 21 Savage spent several weeks at the top of the UK singles charts, with Zayn ft. Sia’s Dusk Till Dawn, Too Good At Goodbyes by Sam Smith, and Perfect by Ed Sheeran all spending time in the top ten.
The album was released in time to mark the 20th anniversary of debut record Word Gets Around, as Kelly Jones preferred the idea of releasing new material over another compilation album. It also marked the first appearance of live band regular Gavin Fitzjohn on trumpet, flugelhorn & saxophone.
Though it’s clear that everything post-Keep Calm and Carry On is part of the Stereophonics’ reset (with Jamie Morrison replacing Javier Weyler on drums, and the band changing record labels after an extended break), I’m inclined to see Scream Above the Sounds as the band setting down a marker for their current direction; it retains classic Stereophonics elements such as narrative song-writing & a strong rhythm section, whilst continuing to refine the use of additional instruments to create a varied sound.
Maybe it’s because I heard it for the first time in a live setting, rather than via a recording, but I’m surprised that Geronimo didn’t get released as a single, as it’s one of the catchiest songs on the entire album – archetypal Phonics with bonus saxophone. It’s a highlight of the live set and, unsurprisingly, one of the standout moments on this album for me. Other favourites are Caught by the Wind, for its soaring guitars, and fast-paced rocker Cryin’ in Your Beer.
The storytelling style of All in One Night (inspired by the German film Victoria) is classic Kelly Jones, condensing a tale (& a twist) into just over five minutes of music. The final track I have to mention is Before Anyone Knew Our Name; raw emotion, just Jones and a piano – the processing (in musical form) of Stuart Cable’s death, seven years previous. Its simplicity allows total focus on the words – it’s a real tear-jerker, and no mistake.
Roll Up and Shine
Once again, the band headed out on a world tour supporting the album’s release, starting in 2017 and running into 2018; most dates were concentrated on the UK, Australia, and the US. They also visited countries such as Belgium, Italy, Mexico, Spain, and Singapore – UK dates included visits to venues such as Bournemouth International Centre, Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground, Kendal Calling 2017, Liverpool’s Echo Arena, and The SSE Hydro.
Featured image credit: Andrew Whitton
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