Status Quo – Bula Quo


Reviewed by Robert Baker

Fourth Chord Records

Like ‘Spectres’ of music past coming through the ‘Heavy Traffic’ of all the other bands currently ‘Rockin’ All Over the World’, and carrying a legacy so large it makes every other bands audience resemble naught but ‘Pictures of Matchstick Men’ comes the one, the only, the Quo! Providing the soundtrack to the cinematic release of the same name, Bula Quo is a double disc release presented to you in the form of nine brand new songs on one disc, and ten recordings of classic Parfitt/Rossi rock. Anyone more familiar with the bands back catalogue will find plenty to air-guitar along to in the new material; it’s pure, classic Quo as we all know and love, and none the worse for it.

Opening track ‘Looking Out For Caroline’ reminds fans of the bands familiar sound of lore whilst introducing new ears into the fold with an inoffensive, middle-aged man-band sound that cements the bands love of a triple chord riff and rock-lite sound and which I for one ‘Ain’t Complaining’.

‘Go, Go, Go’ underlines the Quo’s trademark sound of chunking chords and riff repetition that is good ole boys playing ‘Old Time Rock and Roll’, the flourishes of synth here and there adding some real substance to the sound but which can’t help remind you it’s a song specifically written for a film soundtrack. Even though I’ve yet to see the film my money is on it being the backing for the films first chase scene, with the solo near the end feeling like a tongue-in-cheek moment of fourth-wall-breaking between the band and the camera, a copy-n-paste of the one solo everyone is familiar playing too much to their credit of being ‘Famous in the Last Century’.

‘Run And Hide (The Gun)’ and ‘Running Inside My Head’ show ‘The Party Ain’t Over Yet’ with a brace of belt-loop lingerers, and it isn’t until you get to track five and Mystery Island does the band break cover from the familiar with a laconic, almost melancholic slice of sun-kissed sounds and coconut shells that swaps shoulder-bumps for swaying and reminds you this is a band more than capable of giving you ‘Whatever You Want’, if only when they decide to.

As if proving they aren’t quite fully #Down the Dustpipe’ in terms of relevance and raw-power ‘All That Money’ stamps out a fist raising tirade of musical defiance that almost manages to bring you to the crest of a defiant musical plateau; frustrated and unfulfilled, Never Leave A Friend Behind then teases you with an intro and vocals that promise to show you the ‘Wild Side of Life’ but only manages a chorus of mum-friendly lyrical intent more befitting a Disney animation than dark machinations.

‘Fiji Time’ and title track ‘Bula Quo’ (ear-marked as the bands 100th single release) end the album perfectly and bring you back to having both feet planted firmly in place, thumbs and loops entwined and shoulders poised ready to get ‘Down Down’ to some classic sounding Quo chord conjuring, the former a surprisingly ska-esque stomper, the latter making you feel ‘The Party Ain’t Over Yet’ for these rockers of rolling ‘Riffs’.

Overall I don’t see Bula Quo attracting a new generation of ears and fans in the same way the Stones recent appearance at Glastonbury did, but then again I don’t think that’s the point here. With the packaging of a second CD containing live takes from the classic Quo catalogue, it feels more like an album for fans of the band who’ve skipped the last few compilation releases due to already owning the originals. It’s not massively new or particularly revolutionary, but it is the mighty Quo combo of Parfitt and Rossi on top form. And though it doesn’t ‘Break the Rules’ and probably won’t make you ‘Rock ‘Til You Drop’, it does show that it’s ‘Never Too Late’ to join in with those already double-denim’d up ‘Going Down Town Tonight’, joining those already ‘In Search of the Fourth Chord’.

And you can Quo-te me on that.

8 out of 10

Track listing:

Status Quo - Bula QuoDisc One:

  1. Looking Out for Caroline
  2. Go Go Go
  3. Run And Hide (The Gun Song)
  4. Running Inside My Head
  5. Mystery Island
  6. All That Money
  7. Never Leave A Friend Behind
  8. Fiji Time
  9. Bula Bula Quo (Kua Ni Lega)

Disc Two:

  1. Living On An Island (Fiji Style Version)
  2. Frozen Hero
  3. Reality Cheque
  4. Rockin’ All Over The World (Bula Edit)
  5. Caroline (Live at Montreux)
  6. Beginning Of The End
  7. Don’t Drive My Car
  8. Pictures Of Matchstick Men
  9. Whatever You Want
  10. Down Down



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