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Status Quo (UK): Quid Pro Quo

Album Notes

Returning from their longest gap between albums in their 43-year history, Status Quo appear to have spent the time away reacquainting themselves with the heavier sound of their '70s heyday, judging by their 29th studio release Quid Pro Quo. The follow-up to 2007's In Search of the Fourth Chord is still quintessentially Status Quo, with the jaunty boogie shuffle of "Rock N Roll N You," the no-nonsense driving rock of "The Winner," and the guitar chugging "Let's Rock," whose "I like it, I like it" lyrics are unashamedly similar to those of "Rockin' All Over the World," doing little to suggest the band has found what its predecessor was also looking for. However, the alleged inspiration for Spinal Tap do seem to have discovered the "dial eleven," as the majority of its 15 tracks ramp up the heavy rock riffs, extend the guitar solos, and quicken the tempo to produce a back-to-basics affair which might go some way in appeasing any loyal fans dismayed by their recent, woeful collaboration with German techno outfit Scooter. Opening track "Two-Way Traffic" bursts out of the blocks with its thunderous Motörhead-esque hooks and head-banging rhythms; "Movin On" is an unashamedly retro slice of frantically paced vintage rock & roll, while there are nods to '60s psychedelica on the acid rock guitars of "Dust to Gold"; '70s prog rock on the quirky synths of "Can't See for Looking," and '80s hair metal with the showboating solos of "Frozen Hero." But other than the Parfitt-sung slow blues of "Reality Cheque" and the toe-tapping, country-fused "Anyway You Like It" co-written with hardcore fan Alan Crook, the album never really deviates from its blistering barroom rock formula, while the pro-army lyrical changes made to the unnecessary retread of 1986 hit "In the Army Now" slightly betray the original's anti-war sentiment. The Quo may be well into their sixties, but Quid Pro Quo sees them perhaps more reinvigorated than they have been since they were half that age, and while it resolutely sticks to what they know best, it's not as one-dimensional as their three-chord reputation suggests. ~ Jon O'Brien


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