There’s no band with a higher profile on the UK rock’n’roll circuit than Status Quo. Those fans who started out with them in the days of Ma Kelly’s Greasy Spoon have become the affluent demographic who now swell their major events/gigs to SRO.
And with Parfitt gone and Rossi giving more time to solo ventures, an album of new material seemed extremely unlikely. It’s not like they’ve got anything to prove. But here we are . . . maybe they think they have.
Backbone is an incredibly strong and often deceptively mellow recording. The insanely effortless pop genius of stuff like ‘Cut Me Some Slack’ and ‘I See You’re In Some Trouble’, are both full of the cultivated tunesmithery and quickfire wordplay that few bands can aspire to . . . the Quo things that often go unnoticed. And the sound is lean and mean when it wants to be… witness the bluesy, stripped down to voice, guitar and stomp of opening track, ‘Waiting For A Woman’, and the other side of the coin, the riffed up bolt of Quo lightning that is the title track.
It would be easy to dismiss ‘Falling Off The World’ and ‘Running Out Of Time’ as join-the-dots Status Quo, but they make a prettier picture than most, with the music’s deliciously soulful sound spilling out from the edges… creating that emotional connection the band always seems to have with their loyal following.
That said, ‘Liberty Lane’ is probably the pick. Its Stonesy strut, combined with a Seventies rock groove, inflates a slight tune into an unassuming pop monster. It might be one of the best things they’ve ever done . . . not just a listened to slice of resurrected, last century pop culture, but a lived in experience.
Status Quo have accumulated considerable artistic stock in the world of popular music over the years. Listening to Backbone, it’s easy to see why.
- Reviewed by Brian McGowan
- Released by Edel Music, Germany 6 September, 2019
- Band Website
- Waiting For A Woman
- Cut Me Some Slack
- Liberty Lane
- I See You’re In Some Trouble
- Backing Off
- I Wanna Run Away With You
- Better Take Care
- Falling Off The World
- Get Out Of My Head
- Running Out Of Time
Was able to hear this album early. As per the press release, most of the tracks that were made to “get the juices flowing” are exactly that – band members riffing off one another but as finished songs they drift off without any quality control in place and get boring very easily. ‘Cut Me Some Slack’ and ‘Liberty Lane’ are highlights, owing to them being statement songs and the necessary work being carried out to knock them into shape.
There is no doubt that Backbone is a band effort but sometimes less is more. The keyboards and ELO-type backing vocals on ‘Backbone’ and ‘Running Out Of Time’ don’t particularly work and are, regrettably, too high in the mix. Moving forward, the John David cover ‘Better Take Care’ would do well as a single. It is undeniably catchy and has a refined structure that is easy to follow.
Thanks For commenting.
There are no keyboards on Backbone.
Ahh… one of the affluent demographic:-)
Really looking forward to hearing this. I saw them live in this year and they were fantastic!
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