Edsel [Release date 28.10.13]
There’s something quite irresistible about Quo, perhaps the more so since they’ve recently reformed with the classic line-up and re-discovered their seventies mojo. Yes, they have had their fair share of naff-ness (recently consolidated by their widescreen excursion Bula Quo) but the band have always delivered even within fairly predictable parameters. It then becomes a case of sifting through their albums, discarding some but elevating others as the more durable of their offerings.
Six years on, In Search Of The Fourth Chord with its Indiana Jones cover pastiche sounds as good as ever and proves that the guys have never lost their sense of humour or proportion. The album also marked the return of producer Pip Williams who had worked on their most highly regarded work (from 1986′s In The Army Now onwards).
Opener ‘Beginning Of The End’ may not be earth-shattering but is a refreshing change from their formulaic rock-boogie (as evidenced on ‘I Don’t Wanna Hurt You Anymore’ and ‘Bad News’ which is written and sung by bassist John ‘Rhino’ Edwards). Ditto ‘Hold Me’ which still has the Quo stomp but sounds more contemporary.
In 2007 GRTR! reviewer Bill Leslie wrote: “A real return to form…arguably their best release since ‘Never Too Late’ back in 1981.” And Bill noted original band collaborator Bob Young further enhancing the songwriting standards as he had done on previous releases, notably ‘Heavy Traffic’ in 2002.
This is a straightforward reissue of the original 2007 album but boosted with the two bonus tracks that appeared on the UK and European editions: ‘I Ain’t Wasting My Time’ and the excellent ballad ‘One By One’. ****
Quid Pro Quo, the follow-up in 2011, is expanded – as it was originally – with the “official live bootleg” recorded in Amsterdam and Melbourne in 2010 and serving as a bonus “greatest hits”.
The album was generally well-received and spawned several hit singles including ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll ‘n’ You’, ‘Better Than That’ and, revived for the 2012 Olympics, ‘The Winner’. Their 1986 hit ‘In The Army Now’ was re-recorded in support of Forces charities. ‘Dust To Gold’ ‘Frozen Hero’ and ‘Reality Cheque’ are among the best recent Quo tracks but there is also a good quota of out-and-out rockers such as ‘Let’s Rock’, ‘Can’t See For Looking’ and ‘Movin’ On’.
Francis Rossi co-produced the album with Mike Paxman who back in the eighties played in Judie Tzuke’s band with Quo bassist John Edwards – a time when Edwards picked up his nickname for being so clumsy.
GRTR!’s Joe Geesin called the album “solid and ballsy” and the heavy rock dial was turned up again. Another splendid hard rock opener in ‘Two Way Traffic’ and the pace is pretty relentless throughout. An already solid value package is given greater credence now with the addition of two bonus live tracks that appeared originally on the Deluxe Edition. *****
Review by David Randall
David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.
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