Performance & Cocktails is Marred Bad Lyrics, Boring Songs, and Forced Emotion
Written: May 25, 2004
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
The Bottom Line: The Stereophonics are a stand-out band, not because they are awesome. Rather, they are awesomely bad! Avoid at all costs.
After miserably failing to connect with the Stereophonics on their third release, 1999s Just Enough Education to Perform, I really should have taken the hint. Not that I purchased that album or the one Im about to review (they were left to me by my dear sister clle46), but still
I could have done without the rude awakening and even ruder sounds.
The main issue I had with the Stereophonics on JEEP was that they were uncreative and their music unchallenging. The songs blended together in one monotonous lump. Of course, I thought to myself, maybe their lack of inspiration came as a result of their disillusionment with the industry. So maybe (this was, of course, a long-shot) their earlier material is better. Unfortunately for me, nothing could be further from the truth. Whereas I gave the Stereophonics the benefit of the doubt with JEEP I cannot be so forgiving with 1999s Performance and Cocktails.
The Welsh three-piece band was unlike their UK contemporaries in that they turned to rock when fellow musicians turned to pop. On the surface, I suppose that this should have been a pleasant change. Maybe had guitarist/vocalist Kelly Jones, bassist Richard Jones, and drummer Stuart Cable had something say with their music it would have been better received. I personally find it to be hollow and unsatisfyingas though they are trying to force a square peg into the proverbial round hole.
Strangely enough, it was with their bland sophomore album Performance and Cocktails that the Stereophonics made any splash even in the UK. If it hasnt been for the surprising 1999 hit singles The Bartender and the Thief and Just Lookin maybe I would have been saved from the pain of enduring this sorry excuse for an album. I find it odd that even those songs when taken alone or in the context of the album do little for me (a lifelong fan of rock not to mention more recently of all things musical and British). The songs and the band fit in nicely with the faceless, untalented glut of post-grunge rocktake it or leave it.
The Bartender and the Thief was what put the band on the map. Sounding like a revved up Spacehog, the band injects heavy guitars and drums over Kelly Jones falsetto-laced wailing vocals. I suppose the chorus is fine enough and decently memorable, but the rest of the song is bad in that its just one big mish-mash of ill-defined instruments and unnecessary noise. As far as single Just Lookin goes it showcases a more emotional side of the Stereophonics. The snail-paced opening is thankfully soon broken up by drums but there isnt a damn thing that can be done to save this song once it spirals out of control.
Considering those are the most popular songs of the album, it goes without saying that maybe the other eleven songs leave something to be desired. Sometimes, this kind of deduction proves incorrectbut not in the unfortunate case of the Stereophonics. Indeed Just Lookin and The Bartender and the Thief are the most appealing (gasp!) offerings. The album opener Roll Up and Shine lends credence to my wordsit is a painfully dated (even in 1999) and not at all impressive rock track. The formula across the album is similarguitars + bass + drums + angsty vocals = song. Theres little variancea few songs are more acoustic while others are more rock but all-in-all I see very little of merit on Performance and Cocktails.
The slower (but not at all interesting) songs include Hurry Up and Wait, the mid-tempo emotionless mess Half the Lies You Tell Aint True, and shallow acoustic number She Takes Her Clothes Off. As far as pseudo-rock songs go, they are everywhere. Pick a Part Thats New, I Wouldnt Believe the Radio, Is Yesterday, Tomorrow, Today?, and so many others are basically interchangeable. I get little out of each individual song, and when taken on the whole Im disenchanted by the pointlessness of it all.
I hate to be so negative about a rock band in an era when rock is in remarkably short supply. But I dont want folks to mistake the Stereophonics for a real rock band (which they are clearly not). Rather, what the Stereophonics reek of is the same stench as American contemporaries like Tonic, Dishwalla, Matchbox Twenty, Third Eye Blind, Sister Hazel and a bunch of other equally interchangeable entities. Do yourself a favor and forget about exploring the Stereophonics on any level. JEEP is average at best, but Performance and Cocktail is a travesty.
Rating: 1/5 stars
01. Roll Up and Shine
02. The Bartender and the Thief
03. Hurry Up and Wait
04. Pick a Part Thats New
05. Just Lookin
06. Half the Lies You Tell Aint True
07. I Wouldnt Believe Your Radio
08. T-Shirt Sun Tan
09. Is Yesterday, Tomorrow, Today?
10. A Minute Longer
11. She Takes Her Clothes Off
12. Plastic California
13. I Stopped to Fill My Car Up
Just Enough Education to Perform (2001)
By the way, if my critiques arent enough to sway you far, far, far away from the Stereophonic how about a lyrical sample?
He was walking 'round to you
One said French afternoon
So he called in to shop for two
He bought himself an ice drink
A totally tropical nice drink
Then he saw what he thought was you in a room
He thought about goin' over
But you were always much older
And your sex dressed breasts impressed too
He'd really like to get it together
Before the 12th of never
so he's coming over