Stereophonics

Decade in the Sun: Best of Stereophonics

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One of those British phenomena that has stayed distinctly provincial -- talk all you want about Oasis or Blur never cracking the U.S. charts, Stereophonics never came close, never even managing to cobble together a cult of college students or Anglophiles -- Stereophonics managed to carve out a nice living as workaday rockers in the post-Oasis age. They were guitar rock traditionalists in the time when Radiohead and their happy followers Coldplay ruled British rock, marching just outside of the Zeitgeist but appealing to thousands anyway, probably because they never tried to compete with Radiohead's spacy explorations. Instead, Stereophonics adapted the anthemic roar of their Welsh forefathers Manic Street Preachers, substituting the Manics' Guns N' Roses fascination with a love of Nirvana, and then made big arena rock, tempered slightly with rambling acoustic singalongs straight out of Oasis and vague electronica-flavored pop. All this is chronicled on Decade in the Sun: The Best of Stereophonics, the group's first hits compilation and one that traces its evolution effectively across 20 tracks best appreciated by listeners familiar with these tunes as part of the general cultural fabric. For U.K. listeners, this is a good sampling of what they heard in the background for a decade.

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