Listen to this song by Welsh indie-rock-turned-classic-rock trio Stereophonics. It’s “A Thousand Trees”, a single off of their 1997 debut record Word Gets Around.
I first heard this tune when the band performed it on Top of the Pops. At that time in the mid-to-late 90s a lot of bands coming out of Wales – the Manic Street Preachers new line-up, Catatonia, Super Furry Animals – were putting out intense and interesting rock records. The landscape was a rich one. And where Stereophonics would become less interesting to me later on with subsequent releases, I thought this opening salvo from the group was very strong indeed.
I think the reason this resonates with me so well is that the song really captures a sense of place. And as such it strikes me as being very punk rock that way. It’s a song about the local community, yet it’s also about the fragility of life in general, that it takes a lot to build something up and only a moment to destroy it. I think that’s a pretty powerful idea. Singer Kelly Jones’ delivery kind of reinforces the point. Even if the group lost a bit of purchase with the indie crowd later on, Jones would always remain to be an impressive vocalist.
The group would have great success in Britain, perhaps less so than on this side of the pond. Yet, this opening salvo of a single remains to be my favourite from this group.
For more recent information and more music, check out stereophonics.com.