In his downtime during the recording of the Stereophonics’ sixth album, frontman Kelly Jones put together a ten-track solo album, each song titled with a different girl’s first name. Only The Names Have Been Changed is a melancholy chronicle detailing the stories of ten women in Jones’ signature half-tabloid/half-diary narrative.
It may be bare, but survives as a compelling late-night journal.
Ever since the endless possibilities Jones wrote about the woman in "Traffic" on the Stereophonics’ first album, Word Gets Around, he’s displayed a knack for making common stories interesting. "Emily" is about a girl in a diamond store being whisked off her feet. "Katie" is a dark, sultry tune about a girl looking for her fix. As he always has, Jones plays the omnipresent narrator of what he considers everyday life.
The other feature that keeps the album afloat is Jones’ uncommonly powerful rock voice, which provides more than an excuse for the minimal guitar strumming. He stretches his vocal cords most on "Violet", an acoustic, on-the-roof wail, and "Suzy", a dark, languishing what-if. "Jean" finishes the album on a strong note, a quick-hitting strum that Jones’ voice coasts away on. If nothing else, Only The Names Have Been Changed is another opportunity to hear one of the most distinctive rock voices of Jones’ generation.
As it’s not a particularly proper release, and was recorded over the matter of a couple days, Only The Names Have Been Changed is more of a bonus album between Stereophonics releases than anything. Kelly Jones gets a moment to himself in empty surroundings, and only his most basic guitar and vocal work get the spotlight. Throughout this album, though, Jones has no problem filling it, and it’s a hearty way to fill the time until the ‘Phonics next one.