Status Quo - 'Backbone'

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Status Quo - 'Backbone'

'Backbone' proves that Status Quo have still got it – and long may they continue!

Status Quo are one of the most successful British bands of all time with over one hundred million albums sold and a distinctive sound that has often been imitated yet never bettered. A big part of Quo's success was also the two front-men – lead guitarist/vocalist Francis Rossi and rhythm guitarist/vocalist Rick Parfitt. They were the ones who were most often pictured, handled all the press and their two guitars crossed over adorned several Quo releases.

'Backbone', the group's thirty-third studio album, is the first release without Parfitt who passed away in 2016. In his stead is young Irish six-stringer Richie Malone, who was inspired to play the guitar because of Quo and initially came in to fulfil concert duties when Parfitt was suffering from ill-health.

With Rossi literally leading the way as lead vocalist, lead guitarist, chief song-writer and producer, 'Backbone' represents where Quo are now. 'Waiting For A Woman' will surprise a lot of people because it's a slow-burning opener that lures you in before the band burst into 'Cut Me Some Slack' which shows they can still recreate their classic sound at will. 'Liberty Lane', written by Rossi and bassist John "Rhino" Edwards, is another up-tempo gem with a glorious chorus, while the bouncy 'I See You're In Some Trouble' is infectious; Malone's backing vocals are reminiscent of Parfitt and they fit beautifully under Rossi's voice.

However, it's not all left to Rossi as keyboard player Andy Bown co-wrote the chugging 'Backing Off', drummer Leon Cave penned the upbeat, catchy 'Falling Off The World' and Malone wrote 'Get Out Of My Head' (which he also sings lead on). Elsewhere, both Bown and Edwards join in on the vocals for the excellent John David penned cut 'Better Take Care'.

Despite there being no ballad, I am pretty confident there will be those who claim it's not Quo without Parfitt, which is the same argument that was made when the group carried on without John Coghlan and Alan Lancaster. Personally, I felt the band improved musically after the seventies "Frantic Four" era and that they've continued to put out some superb albums over the last couple of decades – 'Backbone' continues this trend. I also really liked the actual sound which is the result of Rossi's refusal to "compress the fuck out of things." It won't please everyone but no album does. 'Backbone' proves that Status Quo have still got it – and long may they continue!

James Gaden

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