Record Review 

Big in Britain, but barely known stateside, the Stereophonics might be too good for American ears.

Not trendy enough for indie rockers and too edgy for commercial rock radio, the trio continues to churn out quality albums and tour to a modest but adoring audience.

After four albums, the Welsh threesome turns up the heat and volume on its rugged new release, Language. Sex. Violence. Other? Much of the album grabs some retro-Supergrass vibe and exudes a less artsy, but harder rocking Love & Rockets flair, especially on the funkified track "Brother."

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Kelly Jones sounds as energized as a 1,000-watt surround-sound system. Each of the 11 songs sports a tough, memorable riff that most bands would kill for, and the gloves are obviously off when Jones sneers, "all I wanna do is get close to you 'cause all I wanna do is make a mess out of you," against a tensile guitar line that breaks into a solo that would make Marc Bolan proud.

Like their single-word titles, the concise songs are wrapped tight. No notes are wasted, nothing is extended needlessly, and every track could be the hottest tune on "album radio" this week ... if given the opportunity. Albums this consistently invigorating and gutsy shouldn't go unheard. Buy a copy and play it for your friends. Don't let the Brits keep the Stereophonics for themselves.

Stereophonics perform Sat., May 7, at the Roxy Theatre, 3110 Roswell Road. $15. 9 p.m. 404-233-7699. roxy.html.


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