The Quireboys – Beautiful Curse

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Review by Ian Savage

It’s sometimes sobering to do review research on a band you admire and find out exactly how long they’ve been around. In the case of English rockers The Quireboys, it transpires that they’ve been peddling their brand of bluesy keyboard-tinged good-time rock ‘n’ roll for almost as long as this reviewer has been on the planet; Beautiful Curse represents only the seventh official studio release in that three decades though, as frontman Spike tends to assemble the ‘boys as and when it suits him.

Launching straight in with the AC/DC-esque intro to ‘Too Much Of A Good Thing’, complete with cowbell, it’s a very good thing to have them back. Those familiar with the band from their debut breakthrough will find much to like here, as tinkling piano lines fight for space with sinewy lead guitars and a pulsing rhythm section.

Over the following 45 minutes tempos shift (down for lighter-waving ballads ‘Mother Mary’ and ‘Beautiful Curse’, up for the rabble-rousing ‘Homewreckers and Heartbreakers’ and ‘For Crying Out Loud’) and instrumentation flows through Hammond organ, vibraphone and acoustic guitar, whilst always maintaining that intangible Quireboys vibe. The aptly-titled ‘Diamonds And Dirty Stones’ could have easily seeped from the collective Richards/Jagger pen any time in the last forty years, and Spike’s distinctive rasp capably invites hell-raising or melancholy as the song demands.

Closing tune ‘I Died Laughing’ is again Stones-influenced to the point of being derivative, but it’s a testament to the quality of ‘Beautiful Curse’ that it’s always been played again on this reviewer’s system instead of reaching for ‘Tattoo You’ instead. The production is professional throughout, to the point of perhaps making things too slick and removing one too many rough edges, but as a whole the album represents a striking return to form. It’s just a shame that most of us will have to wait until October to see the ‘boys back in their natural habitat – in the meantime, Beautiful Curse will do nicely.

The Quireboys – Beautiful Curse8 out of 10

Track listing: 

  1. Too Much Of A Good Thing
  2. Chain Smokin’
  3. Talk Of The Town
  4. Mother Mary
  5. King Of Fools
  6. Homewreckers And Heartbreakers
  7. Diamonds And Dirty Stones
  8. Beautiful Curse
  9. Don’t Fight It
  10. For Crying Out Loud
  11. Twenty Seven Years
  12. I Died Laughing