UMC [Release date 11.10.19]
Third album from Down ‘N’ Outz who feature Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott, The Quireboys’ Paul Guerin (guitar), Guy Griffin (guitar) and Keith Weir (keyboards), plus the rhythm section of Vixen bassist Share Ross and Wayward Sons drummer Phil Martini. It has been five years since their last studio album, although their respective other bands have all been busy touring and/or recording in the interim (the Quireboys in particular always seem to be either in the studio or on the road).
This album marks the first album of all original songs, bar one cover, an enthusiastic run through ‘White Kids On Dope’ by the Tubes and they are all written by Joe Elliott. The music is like a trip through Joe Elliott’s record collection, as there are hints of 10CC, Ian Hunter/Mott the Hoople, Elton John and Queen throughout the songs.
The star of the show, aside from Joe Elliot’s vocals, is the piano and keyboards playing of Keith Weir. Be it the rolling piano riffs on ‘Another Man’s War’ or on the ballad ‘Goodnight Mr Jones’, his playing really adds to the music. ‘Goodnight Mr Jones’ is a fitting tribute to David Bowie, where you can play spot the Bowie song title whilst enjoying the guitar solo.
‘Last Man Standing’ goes big on the 70’s sound, complete with strings and plenty of harmony vocals – sounding not unlike a Cats In Space tune (imagine a joint effort from these two bands now that could be musical magic). ‘Walking To Babylon’ and ‘Let It Shine’ are mini-epics, the former adding in a little choral backing, strings and more of that piano. The uplifting ‘Let It Shine’ features a fine vocal from Joe Elliott and suitably impressive guitar outro.
Moving on from their excellent renditions of Mott the Hoople and Ian Hunter tunes, Down ‘N’ Outz show they can still produce a strong album based on their own songs. A logical musical follow on as Down ‘N’ Outz clearly love their 70’s music and combine it to good effect with their own musical ideas. Let it roll… ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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