Album review: STATUS QUO – Backbone

STATUS QUO – Backbone

earMusic [Release date 06.09.19]

On the release day of this album I will be avoiding social media at all costs. The luddites and trolls will be out in force to decry this album as a travesty and a slur on the Quo legacy, produced, in their opinion, by a ‘tribute’ act. I can hear the laments now for the days of the frantic four, people extoling the virtues of double denim as a fashion choice and there will be those calling for no less than the head of Francis Rossi, atop a Fender Telecaster, in a glass case at their nearest Hard Rock Cafe!

Very few though will have actually bothered to listen to the new album which in my opinion is probably the best Quo release in recent memory. Things do get off to a slow start however with opener ‘Waiting For A Woman’.

Not sure who arranged the track listing for the album but this song would have been better popping up mid-album rather than being the opener. It’s by no means a bad track however there are better, more gripping songs which would have been better openers.

For me ‘Cut Me Some Slack’ would have been more than up to the task of being track 1. Built on a dirty riff cranked out by Francis Rossi and Ritchie Malone this is more like it, Quo firing on all cylinders.

‘Liberty Lane’ keeps up the pace with some excellent cowbell work at the start from Leon Cave, what song isn’t enhanced by a bit of cowbell? This track contains a great melody and has been receiving a lot of airplay on the radio.

‘I See You’re In Some Trouble’ bounces along on a pumping riff, with a great bass line from Rhino Edwards, and contains a big chorus. ‘Backing Off’ is probably my favourite song on the album, again the guitar work here is superb with some unusual twists thrown in along the way. This is the sound of a band really enjoying themselves in the studio and 33 albums in that is quite some feat!

‘I Wanna Run Away With You’ is an old school rocker with a great 12 bar riff that takes you back to the band’s heyday, yes it is that good. The title track ‘Backbone’ follows sticking two fingers up to any of the doubters who think the band are a spent force, Rossi and co are standing proud and are happy to take on the naysayers with an arsenal of 11 top tunes!

The chugging riff of ‘Better Take Care’ is another highlight on the album and it contains a cracking guitar solo from Rossi, it is easy to dismiss Francis as a 12 bar wonder but his playing here is top notch. ‘Falling Off The World‘  is another familiar Quo standard with a heavy mid section which will be great in a live setting.

The guys then hit full throttle with ‘Get Out Of My Head’ which is a fast paced out and out rocker. Again, live this will be a storming track, if you don’t nod your head along to this one then I would check for a pulse. ‘Running Out Of Time’ then brings the album to a close in fine style, whether this is a comment on the band’s collective age or its longevity is not specified, but this album proves there is plenty of life in the old dog yet.

Francis Rossi states on the accompanying blurb that the young blood in the band, Ritchie Malone and Leon Cave, has re-energised the group and this album is the sound of a band renewed. The latest version of Quo may be a bit like Trigger’s Broom, however they have swept away the cobwebs and have produced an album worthy of the legacy and undoubtedly the best album the band have produced in many years.  ****

Review by Dave Wilson 

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