Album review: THE QUESTIONNAIRES – Atlantic Ridge


Boom Chang Records [Release date 15.01.21]

It seems a bit disingenuous in the PR blurb to refer to Jane Wade and Steve Hall, aka The Questionnaires, as having been ‘around a bit’.  For most, me included, their formative bands – for Steve, the nine piece r&b outfit East Side Torpedoes, and Jane the all-woman 80′s band Jazawaki – likely won’t mean a great deal.

And while they originally paired up in the 80s, it was a short lived affiliation with both deciding to follow different careers – Steve in academia and Jane in the theatre. In 2002, they made a brief ‘debut’ releasing ‘Arctic Circles’ – an album of songs they demoed in the 80′s – an excellent set (still available via bandcamp) that marries elements of Steely Dan, The Carpenters and 80′s pop into the sort of timeless format I once hoped Culture Club’s Helen Terry might produce.

Atlantic Ridge – the Newcastle upon Tyne based duo’s ‘follow up’ – has been a long time coming, fuelled by Steve’s early retirement, and Jane’s acting career winding down.  A case of ‘now or never’, it remains rooted in that ‘classic’ song writing style that you could well imagine someone like Tina Turner using in her 80′s heyday, or, say it quietly – Dame Shirley Bassey – but with Arctic Circles’ jazzy brass flourishes supplanted with more contemporary folk / country / bluegrass dobro, violin, viola, and mandolin.

Sumptuous playing, Jane Wade’s perfect diction and wonderfully warm vocals combine to make both albums what I would describe as proper ‘adult’ orientated pop offerings.  Chuck in exemplary self-production and this is, indeed, ‘music for pleasure’.  ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley


The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk was streamed on Sunday 20 December., imbued with a festive flavour to raise the spirits

More about Josh:

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 20 December 2020 and announces the results of the Popular Poll for Best of 2020.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 20 December 2020 and includes Pete’s best of the year selections

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Featured Albums w/c 11 January 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 UNRULY CHILD Our Glass House (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 SERGEANT STEEL Truck Tales (Boyz Tyme Records)
14:00-16:00 DAN REED Liftoff (Zero Entertainment)

Power Plays w/c 11 January 2021 (Mon-Fri)

BLACK SPIDERS – Good Times (Dark Riders Records/Cargo Records)
GRAVITY MACHINE Standing Stones (Zyse Records)
EMPIIRES Love Or Hate (TLG Entertainment/INgrooves)
RAY FENWICK Tam Tam (Singsong Music)
DEAD REYNOLDS Voices (The Fort)
LAYLA ZOE Don’t Wanna Help Anyone (indie)

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