This past February, in an intimate gathering of Toronto Brit-o-philes, Stereophonics played a completely acoustic set made up mostly of songs from this album, supplemented by Neil Young and Beatles covers. The band transported the audience to somewhere warmer than a February night in Toronto, as the whole venue smiled, sang along to the songs they knew and tapped their feet to the unfamiliar ones.
Just Enough Education to Perform, the third effort from the Welsh trio and the most unassuming album I've heard in quite a while, captures that lighthearted feeling with a warm summer current.
Mind you, Kelly Jones' voice is an acquired taste. If you warm to it, however, you'll then enjoy a wealth of simple country-tinged pop songs. After "Vegas Two Times" (chorus girls included) starts the album with a kick in the teeth, a mellow summer road trip mode transports the listener for the duration.
It's not perfect the lyrics and melody for "Everyday I Think of Money" are weak. Otherwise, the album oozes collective calm, especially in tunes like the twangy "Step on My Old Size Nines" ("I'd like to know what you're all about/ What's up there?/ Are you gonna get old and laugh without a care? / ...Will you get what you want from this life?/ A daydreamer") and "Have a Nice Day," the most subversive-in-a-good-way pop song I've heard all year, ba-ba-da-da's included.
So while the summer's still going strong, jump in a beat-up old car and take a road trip with Just Enough....