Out of all the UK indie/US emo rock guitar bands prevalent in the mid 2000's, Stereophonics can most accurately lay claim to be the missing link between Busted and AC/DC. For my money, there was always a vein of honest, no fuss, working class grit in their output, the like of which you don't find in the likes of The Killers, Bullet For My Valentine, The Rasmus, Jimmy Eat World etc etc that accords with the honest, no fuss, working class grit of AC/DC, whilst at the same time keeping the bouncy pop sensibilities of Busted. And while I can't say for certain, I'd happily bet the farm I could list the sort of music valley boy frontman Kelly Jones grew up listening to. Because it would be the same that I did.
Maybe that's why I find 'Dakota' appealing on a number of levels; the neo Neu Krautrock clicktrack of the opening, Jones's hot gravel vocal, the wistful "Thinking about thinking of you, summertime think it was June" Hefner/Wedding Present kitchen sink reminisces of the lyrics, the air punch of the "You made me feel like the one" chorus - there's much to be enjoyed here. And even though they are spare parts borrowed from elsewhere, they are parts engineered into a well built motor that's able to purr and roar in equal measure. That motoring analogy is useful too in that 'Dakota' plays out like the flip side of 'Born To Run'; the promotional video has Jones driving an American convertible forwards, though with his mind stuck firmly in reverse and ghosts of the past as his passengers."Wake up cold coffee and juice. Remembering you, what happened to you?"; 'Dakota' is the innocence of Springsteen's teenage dreams turned into the experience of a drive time anthem more suited to a weary, too much time to think about what might have been, middle aged commute home on the M25 than the open road of Highway 61. "I don't know where we are going now, I don't know where we are going now"; oh yes, I'm always a sucker for some wistful regret, and this is one of the better examples of that particular genre.