Diamond Dogs– Quitters & Complainers


Over half of the actual album’s pretty good…

Review by Ian Savage 

Livewire/Cargo Records

Release date: 14 August 2015

Over more than two decades of rolling on tour with the like of Nazareth, The  Cult, The Quireboys and The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Sweden’s Diamond Dogs have earned themselves a decent following among fans of old-school bar-room rock ‘n’ roll. Seemingly always able to pull bigger crowds the other side of the Channel, the UK release of their latest studio offering Quitters & Complainers comes with a bonus Live in Bilbao CD to showcase the band in their natural habitat.

From the main disc, opener ‘Runaway Romeo’ is a blend of Quo-esque boogie shot through with Allman Brothers slide; undeniably toe-tapping yet altogether too predictable. ‘Alright, Alright, Alright’ follows it up as the B-side that Slade never wrote… after the first few tracks you’d be forgiven for relegating Q&C to the ‘been-there, heard-that’ pile.

It’s not until fourth tune ‘Broken’ that the band’s blend of blues-rock really starts to coalesce – coming across like a Black Crowes jam with a time limit, it boasts the first of a good handful of truly hummable chorus hooks. There’s nothing that you wouldn’t expect from a keyboard-touting band with one foot in the blues, but there’s some genuinely touching lyricism worked around the requisite guitar solos and breakdowns. Over the last two-thirds of its runtime, ‘Quitters & Complainers’ has a lot to offer to fans of outfits like Thunder and the Dogs D’Amour.

After the main disc’s ‘victory-from-the-jaws-of-defeat’ recovery, the bonus live material is something of a disappointment. It takes a good three minutes for opener ‘Bound To Ravage’ to break out of lead guitar ambling to give around thirty seconds of worthwhile material, and the second-rate mix of most of the show renders it preliminarily for the die-hards.

It’s unlikely that the live versions of songs like ‘Raise A Holler’ and ‘Sad To Say I’m Sorry’ here will become even the most ardent fan’s favourite takes, and the shambolic introductions to ‘The Band’ make one wonder why they were left on the recording at all. The ‘jam’ tracks may have been enchanting for those actually present in Bilbao, but here they come across as mainly turgid and self-indulgent.

It’s rare that a disc of extra material actually detracts from the value of the overall package; in this case the main LP teeters so precariously on the brink of worthwhile that the dead weight of the bonus disc threatens to pull it over into the pits of ‘don’t bother’. Your call – over half of the actual album’s pretty good. That might be the definition of ‘damning with faint praise’.

Diamond Dogs– QuittersComplainers20156.5 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Runaway Romeo
  2. Alright, Alright, Alright
  3. Stop Barking Up The Wrong Tree
  4. Broken
  5. Silver Star Delight
  6. Back To Babylon
  7. Black Ribbons (For Magic)
  8. Goodbye Troubled Soul
  9. Rollercoaster
  10. Out Of My Heart

Bonus CD – Let’s Have It – Live in Bilbao:

  1. Bound To Ravage
  2. Rush For Comfort
  3. Every Little Crack
  4. Goodbye Miss Jill
  5. Autopilot
  6. Lift It Up
  7. Yesterday’s NYMPH
  8. Honked
  9. Raise A Holler
  10. Brick Chase Bilbao (Jam)
  11. Passing Through My Heart
  12. Somebody Else’s Lord
  13. On The Sunny Side Again
  14. Sad To Say I’m Sorry
  15. The Band
  16. Wild Side Of Life
  17. Don’t Turn Me Away
  18. Not Guilty (Jam)