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CD: Status Quo – Aquostic II - That's a Fact | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Status Quo – Aquostic II - That's a Fact

CD: Status Quo – Aquostic II - That's a Fact

The Quo strip back layers to reveal rather more than you might think

The Quo looking a little drawn

After the success of 2014’s Aquostic, which saw the band shift nearly half a million albums, Status Quo are back with more of the same to see whether they can repeat the trick.

The big lie about the Quo is that their entire career has been based on this very premise: turf out a load of three-chord, feelgood, 12-bar boogie blues; tour; repeat to fade. In fact, there’s rather more to them than that, and I don’t mean the reedy psych of “Matchstick Men” either. Transitional, early Seventies LPs Ma Kelly’s Greasy Spoon and Dog of Two Head, document a band who could write and play groove-led blues rock with swinging suss rather than piledriving force.

Although no songs from those LPs feature here, some of what does retains that spirit after the electric bunting is torn down. "That’s a Fact" and "Roll Over Lay Down" both benefit hugely from their new clothes, the cut gives them both room to move more freely and better show off their curves. The string accompaniment in the former is a particularly welcome, and unexpected, embellishment.

“Dear John” doesn’t fare so well, but then I’m not sure there was a decent song there in the first place. Simlarly, the brash, heads-down “Hold You Back” doesn’t wear the transition well, while new song “One for the Road” is so lackluster the collection would be stronger without it. 

“In the Army Now” has always been a marmite song, but here, shorn of its portentous production,  the military step is replaced by a softer shuffle, not a million miles away from the rock disco swing of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall (part 2)”. It’s a jolting reminder of what a well-crafted song it is, and the same is true of “Ice in the Sun”, from their Matchstick Men period – with the original’s ear-splitting treble dialed down, we’re left with a charming piece of pop whimsy.

Aquostic II… is an album that, like its predecessor, is a fun addition to the band’s catalogue. It's also a reminder that, beyond the denim blue bluster, Status Quo are gifted masters of their craft. Simple songs they may be, but never simplistic.

'Aquostic II…' is a reminder that, beyond the denim blue bluster, Status Quo are gifted masters of their craft

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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