In the late '90s, a rash of Welsh rock bands emerged, among them Catatonia, Super Furry Animals, 60 Ft. Dolls, and the Stereophonics. On the surface, the Stereophonics' gritty rock & roll seems relatively uninspired, but upon close listen Word Gets Around proves to be a very accomplished debut. Vocalist/guitarist Kelly Jones' vocals are raw and rip the songs apart, as his loud, arena-ready guitar assault gives every track a gritty edge. Jones' lyrics are also of note; highly poetic and meaningful, he writes about the underbelly of a small town. The anthemic opener, the outrageously catchy "A Thousand Trees," details how a respected high school athletic coach ruined his career through a lurid sexual encounter with a female student, and the quick, jagged "More Life in a Tramp's Vest" displays the view of the world through the eyes of a supermarket bag boy. Word Gets Around isn't all about hard rockers, though; the hit "Traffic" is a beautifully constructed ballad that works marvelously when a juxtaposition is made between the music and Jones' rough vocal styling. While Word Gets Around occasionally suffers from blandness, it is a remarkably accomplished debut LP.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Damas