Ten years in, Stereophonics sound appropriately settled on their sixth album, 2007's Pull the Pin. Then again, Stereophonics were never the liveliest of rock bands even in their youth. They beat out the likes of Travis to be perhaps the stodgiest of all the post-Oasis bands, aspiring to nothing more than being a solid stadium rock band, borrowing some of the sweeping sonics of U2 but relying more on the revivalism of Oasis with a slight hint of the epic scale of fellow Welsh rockers Manic Street Preachers. Stereophonics soldiered through album after album, aided considerably on their march to popularity by the cinema star good looks of guitarist/vocalist/all-around nice guy Kelly Jones, who was undeniably attractive in photos but not quite forceful on record. Nowhere is that soft center in sharper relief than on Pull the Pin, which sounds bigger and slicker than anything they've ever done -- a large-scale album suited for their large popularity in the U.K. -- but Jones seems to be carried along by the sound instead of driving it. It's not as much that he's overwhelmed as he is...settled. Stereophonics have achieved the maturity they've aspired to all these many years, easily mimicking Oasis on "Bank Holiday Monday" while they wash out Nirvana and mellow out the Manics elsewhere, turning out music that's louder than Coldplay (or even Travis' 2007 album) but feels less rock & roll, as everything here is immaculately manicured and manipulated; it's a stadium rock album in form, but not sound. As the trio are professionals -- something they've always planned to be -- this is hardly bad but it sure sounds as if the band has gone out of their way to be inoffensive to all audiences...which is pretty remarkable given that there are songs that explicitly confront the London bombings of 7/7.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine