Release Date : 16 Jun 2014
Number of Discs: 2 / CD+DVD
Label: Off Yer Rocka
Genre: Classic Rock, Swagger & Roll
The queue outside HMV on Oxford Street was huge. Stretching down London’s busiest shopping street and full of people wearing denim and leather and sporting some very suspect haircuts. The event? ‘The Quireboys’ signing in-store their debut album ‘A Bit of What You Fancy’. It’s been a hard road for the band up until this point as it’s taken six years of sweat and blood to get to this point but persevere they did and now, in 2014, Spike (vocals), Guy Griffin (guitars), Paul Guerin (guitars) and Keith Weir (keys) help The Quireboys celebrate 30 years in the music business.
Having drifted apart at the beginning of the century, the current incarnation of the band have spent more than a decade ‘putting the band back together’ and ensuring that their name once again becomes relevant in a very crowded scene. So, fast forward from a hot, sweaty pub in Putney, London in 1984 to 2014 and an all new album from the band.
Troublemaker (Black Eyed Son) opens the album and immediately there is a sense of familiarity and composition that brings to mind classic Quireboys, The Faces and other rock and roll bands of that ilk. Spike’s gravelly vocals sit front and centre in a track that paints a picture of hot, dimly lit, smoke filled pubs populated by raucaus hard drinking fans looking for a good time. It’s a wonderfully energetic track with great production that allows all of the musicians to shine and uses backing vocals very well to give the track elements of rock, country, gospel and more. It’s impossible not to immediately get into the groove and there’s a strong desire to press repeat before track 2 has even commenced.
Not afraid to take a few risks, the band dial it down slightly with second track ‘What Do You Want From Me?’. A whisky soaked lament that carries a sharp catchy riff as Spike considers life and where it all went wrong. ‘Julieanne’ would go down a storm in the US on the country scene and could see the band building a massive fan base out there.
By the time ‘Double Dealin” kicks in, it’s clear that the band have indeed managed to line up all of their ducks for this album. Helped in no small part by some excellent production from the legendary Chris Tsangarides (just remember what he did for Anvil in recent years!) it shows a band that sounds as fresh as they did back in their 1990’s heyday.
‘Stubborn Kinda Heart’ is one of those mournful slow numbers that Tyla (Dogs D’Amour) is known for and again suits that country feel where grown men sometimes need to cry into their beers as they realise what they had and have lost. Fear not though, the band haven’t sold out to our cross Atlantic cousins and on the following track, ‘Lullaby of London Town’ we are reminded of the bands roots and 60’s influences and why the British public fell in love with them all those years ago.
The album is a strong mix of hard rockers and thoughtful ballads and as it progresses we get one followed by the other which is a gamble on a rock album where typically only one or two slower numbers usually sit within the bulk of the harder material. Thankfully the mix works in The Quireboys favour and it makes the album all the more accessible to the casual listener as well as the die hard fans. For those fans hoping for another ‘There She Goes Again’, ‘7 O’Clock’, ‘Hey You’ or other classic Quireboys songs, rest assured this album delivers.
To say it’s a perfect album may be going slightly overboard but it’s not far off. Repeated listens could easily see this making many ‘top 10 albums of the year’ lists. Whilst not a come back album (That was ‘Beautiful Curse’) it’s a great continuation of the once again rising star that is The Quireboys.
The Quireboys will embark on a 5 month world tour commencing with a long awaited return to The US & Canada in the summer followed by a UK leg in November.
REVIEWED BY ADRIAN