Stereophonics - Keep The Village Alive

KEEP The Village Alive has to be the Stereophonics' most diverse album in their career spanning two decades.

The Brit Award-winning band and V Festival headliners are now on their ninth record and it is clear that the Welsh rockers still have plenty of fresh ideas – and a new penchant for orchestral arrangements.

From the indie rock of C'est La Vie to the Britpop of I Wanna Get Lost With You, there is a lot to admire here for fans old and new.

And despite already having more than 10 million album sales under their belt, Keep The Village Alive shows the quartet are still keen to develop new ideas rather than just go through the motions.

White Lies is one of the highlights with its U2-inspired guitars while Sing Little Sister with its funky flourishes and maracas almost sounds like it could have been written by the Happy Mondays.

Then the pace changes considerably with Song For The Summer which seems more inspired by 70s singer-songwriters like Nick Drake than the current indie scene.

The only let down is that Keep The Village Alive is one of those albums that is guilty of having most of its best songs crammed in the first half.

Later songs on the record like My Hero and Sunny stray so far from the Stereophonics formula that they come across as self indulgent.

But it ends in style with Mr and Mrs Smith, an excellent track that builds to a big finish.

- Keep The Village Alive is released on Friday