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  QUIREBOYS ALBUM REVIEW AND INTERVIEW
'Beautiful Curse'
(Off Yer Rocka Records)

Roger Berzerk Fauske

Roger Berzerk Fauske

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It is almost 25 years since I first saw the Quireboys supporting the mighty Aerosmith at the equally mighty Hammy O. One of the new breed of UK bands along with the likes of Thunder that were poised for greatness until the abhorrence known as grunge reared its ugly head.

They have had the odd break since then of course but for the last ten or so years they have been back, doing what they did best and what they still do best – writing damn fine songs and strutting their stuff on stages big and small. Quireboys always were unmistakeably themselves, no pretentious heads stuck up their arses like far too many in the music industry.

Article continues below...

 
 


So what about their first studio release for all of five years? As guitarist Guy Griffin told me, the album title 'Beautiful Curse' sums up life on the road with music, a wonderful thing for those that get to live it tinged with long periods away from home. Curse it may be but beautiful it most definitely is.

On first listen the album is just what you would expect from the band – not that they are predictable but you can guarantee shooting from the hip rock 'n' roll that brings a smile to the old boat race and gets your feet twitching. But there is a lot of depth to this one, they are quite clearly doing what they want to without any outside interference (yes execs, that's you) and the result is as good as anything they have done since the seminal 'A Bit Of What You Fancy' back in 1990.

Spike is, well, Spike, his voice always instantly recognisable but you get the sense that on this one he is more relaxed, more passionate and the emotion flowing from that gives even more gravitas to his voice. His voice may not seem to be a powerful as it was but that is more than made up for by the passion. Musically it is a clever album with something new on nearly every listen, a sign of seasoned songwriters and musicians but never detracting from what the band is all about.

quireboys

First up is 'Too Much Of A Good Thing' and there is nothing like a good old fashioned bit of rock n' roll to kick things off. Guitar riff to get your body shaking, vocals causing more foot stomping than is healthy, chorus inducing even the most lethargic to leap around like a rabid wolverine on heat.

This is the Quireboys doing what they do better than anyone else and if they ever gain independence it would suit well as their anthem. There is a moral too – you definitely can't have too much of a good thing.

Health advice comes next in the form of 'Chain Smokin''. Another classic riffing piece of rock, sleazy undertones pulling it along by the proverbials. "Don't preach to me, I'm chain smokin'" - personally I'm off down the pub and if anyone complains about my smoking habits, I'm happy in the knowledge I have Spike on my side.

'Talk Of The Town' slows things down just a little, more a meander than a torrent. The keyboards on this one adding an extra level especially on the chorus, guitar perfectly leading the track into a slower tempo before it rises back at the end.

'Mother Mary' is next to hit my ears and starts off with a melody full of remorse and sorrow, thoughts echoed by the lyrics and Spike's delivery just reinforces the feeling. Don't listen to this if you are prone to slipping into the melancholy – it will get you. Ain't that what music is meant to do? Music, vocals and lyrics combine to talk to you, suggest... this is a true ballad, not the all too common lightweight pap that doubles as a filler. A very memorable song.

'King Of Fools' takes us back up to the sound probably most associated with the band, rock and roll keys a plenty, bar room boogie thrown in. It must be party time and they are buying.

'Homewreckers And Heartbreakers' starts off with infectious keyboards, riff getting down, dirty and funky, vocals pulling it along before the slide guitar adds even more and it is beautifully done. Musically this is a masterpiece, the transitions are almost imperceptible and there are plenty of them here, but none of them are forced. The Quireboys were once described as the UK's answer to Poison – Poison in their wildest dreams couldn't come close to this.

'Diamonds And Dirty Stones' does actually have a bit of the Stones about it, that's the Rolling ones rather than anything sparkly. Funky guitar coming in over the drums, vocals sliding in – Spike involved in a six-string conversation, a song in a song, before it settles into its rhythm before the chorus brings it back out again, catchy lyrical melody backed by equally memorable guitar, the two perfectly in tune, emotionally and musically. You get the feeling these guys know what each other is thinking without needing a conversation.

Guitar goes off on a monologue, a great solo, before filtering back seamlessly to the song. This is a very well written and crafted song but it could have gone stratospheric if the production matched, but more about that later. Suffice to say it's a case of class coming through in spite of, not because of the production. Simon Hansen's drumming on this one too is the perfect foil, leaving room for the guitars to do their business without ever overloading the song.

So to the title track 'Beautiful Curse'. Cowbell initiating the song, guitar riff piling in, organ completing the sound as it swoons, breaking through before the vocals kick in. A superbly smooth intro, musically complete. "Searching for some piece of mind, searching for the truth, heading to the promised land... I've been blessed, I've been cursed." Spike sums up the mixed sentiments of what they do, what musicians do.

The infectious riff and keyboard patterns stamp their mark on the song all the way through, vocal melody and lyrics filled with the genuine feeling of a double edged sword. It's not all wine and roses but you can't go against what is inside you.

'Don't Fight It' starts off slowly, piano letting you know the mood, vocals tinged with sorrow and pain, organ again filling the space during the chorus, understated guitar pulling on the heart strings. This type of song is hardly a new concept but where Spike and co do so well is by keeping the song simple, keeping it under control and not going in the templated rock ballad direction.

Hell I wouldn't even call this a ballad. This talks to you from the heart as only music can, music that comes from the heart.

'For Crying Out Loud' lifts the spirits from the first riff and from the first growl of "Hey" you know what is coming. Drums build, bar room keys and rock n roll guitar again doing what they do best. Pure Quireboys this one, and it is sometimes easy to forget just how hard this kind of music is to get right. They just do it so well it is easy to get blasé about it, and the best bit is this crosses all genres.

'Twenty Seven Years' is an intriguing song, straightforward on the surface but there is a lot to this one. Guitar kicks straight in, upbeat musically, reflective vocally and lyrically. "I've made it through the tears of 27 years" is tinged with both relief and sadness about those who didn't during that time – 27 years is about the time the boys have been together as a band. Stirring stuff indeed.

So to the closer, 'I Died Laughing', a medium pacer, organ again coming to prominence during the intro, guitar changing down, vocals again packed full of thought and emotion. This one just goes to show how mature the band now is, how they have grown and how varied their musical resume now is.

So there you have it, the first one for FIVE years and if the result were the same with every band I would strongly suggest that is the perfect interval between albums. In truth though this has not been five years in the making, they spend so much time doing what rock bands live to do, touring, and armed with new management and label, the time was right. As Guy told me the chances are they won't be waiting five years for the next one. Cue loud cheers and sighs of relief.

The most impressive aspect of this album is the immense diversity on offer, this is an album for both musicians and music lovers. Even more impressive is that it is transparent none of the songs are anything other than from the band's heart, from the very soul of who they are and that is refreshing in these days of corporate entanglement. Honesty in music is as important as anything else and this is integrity personified.

From a personal point of view, this has put a smile on my face in the same way that the latest Queensryche offering did. Both bands and their music went hand in hand with my depraved youth and it's of great comfort to know my middle aged depravity (yes I am old enough to know better but I choose to ignore that) is being accompanied by some familiarity.

Down sides? Musically nothing whatsoever, but I do have an issue with some of the production. In some places the drum sound is almost as lifeless as a Coldplay gig and there is that feeling that the live sound of the band that is an essence of them has been dumbed down – it is all a little flat on occasion. It is not badly produced as such, just not to my mind suited to this band. But I don't want to dwell on that too long and distract from what is a damn fine album. Neither am I going to dwell on the well publicised rhythm section departure.

Most of you know all about The Quireboys but if you were in any doubt about their credibility now, then you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

This is as good as any album I have come across this year so get hold of it however you can and get out and see them, twice. Superb songs, down to earth guys, great musicianship – don't you just hate some people!




beer beer beerbeerbeer
(and that half is down to the production)


9.7.13





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nigel glockler BREAKING NEWS: SAXON DRUMMER NIGEL GLOCKLER PRONOUNCED 100% RECOVERED WITH ZERO DAMAGE
"This means that I am okay to get back to work, but I am told to ease back into it and on my own timeframe..."

turbowolf TURBOWOLF RELEASE BLISTERING NEW SINGLE 'NINE LIVES'
"Nine Lives is a song about making the most of our limited time; about living with no regrets; about changing our attitudes towards death and about life..."

arch enemy ARCH ENEMY ANNOUNCE NEW LIVE DATES FOR 2015
European fans will see Arch Enemy again in late April. The band are coming back with support from US Metal force Unearth and Drone from Germany...

motley crue EXCLUSIVE: MOTLEY CRUE PAY TRIBUTE TO GARY GLITTER ON THE FINAL TOUR
Debauched rockers Motley Crue are currently in Japan performing their last Asian dates on their much publicised Final Tour...

music for nations LEGENDARY HEAVY METAL LABEL MUSIC FOR NATIONS IS BACK
As well as reissues, the label will be signing new artists for the first time in over a decade...

satyricon SATYRICON SIGNS WITH NAPALM RECORDS FOR RELEASE OF SPECTACULAR LIVE DVD
"It's not a live album. It's a celebration of what Satyricon stands for as a band..."

absolva ABSOLVA RELEASE NEW VIDEO FOR 'IN SOME WILD UNIVERSE' PLUS TOUR UPDATE
This video features the touring line-up of the band for 2015...

rival sons RIVAL SONS WITHDRAW FROM SOUNDWAVE 2015
Australia will have to wait a little longer to see Rival Sons in the flesh as family matters take priority...

the answer THE ANSWER RELEASE BRAND NEW LYRIC VIDEO FOR TRACK 'LONG LIVE THE RENEGADES'
"The song is about just doing what you do best and having a bit of a bunker mentality..."

dead kennedys DEAD KENNEDYS ANNOUNCE UK AND EUROPE HEADLINE TOUR FOR JUNE 2015
US punk pioneers will bring their distincitve sound to four countries over ten dates...

carl sentance BREAKING NEWS: CARL SENTANCE ANNOUNCED AS NEW VOCALIST FOR NAZARETH
Persian Risk vocalist Carl Sentance replaces Linton Osbourne to start the next chapter for the Scottish hard rockers...

rockingham firefest BREAKING NEWS: ROCKINGHAM RELIGHTS THE FIREFEST; GOTTHARD, DAN REED, STAN BUSH AND MORE ANNOUNCED
The AOR flag will be raised high yet again over Nottingham Rock City...

pentagram PENTAGRAM RE-SIGNS WITH PEACEVILLE RECORDS - ALBUM RECORDING UNDERWAY
Through four decades of adversity and triumph, Pentagram have become a legendary international act...

uriah heep URIAH HEEP 2015 UK TOUR ANNOUNCED
This tour follows on from the release of the band's acclaimed album 'Outsider' which enjoyed excellent reviews...

godsmack GODSMACK VOCALIST SULLY ERNA TO MAKE AN ONLINE POKER COMEBACK
For Godsmack fans this could be disheartening as Erna shifts his attention from music to poker...

quo convention FIRST EVER STATUS QUO FAN CLUB CONVENTION ANNOUNCED
There will be live music, very special guests and a packed programme this October for this very special celebration...

queensryche THUNDER CONFIRMED AS VERY SPECIAL GUESTS TO ZZ TOP AT WEMBLEY ARENA PLUS MINI UK TOUR ANNOUNCED
The group's first studio album in six years, 'Wonder Days', reminds us why Thunder are now more revered than ever before...

queensryche QUEENSRŸCHE TO TOUR EUROPE AND RELEASE NEW ALBUM IN 2015
It's a busy year for Queensrÿche with headline shows and festival appearances before the new album release...

dir en grey dir en grey RETURN FOR TWO EXCLUSIVE SHOWS
The Islington O2 Academy will be the scene for Japanese avant-garde Metal in May...

unleashed SWEDISH LEGENDS UNLEASHED REVEAL ALBUM TITLE AND ARTWORK
The founders of the Viking Death Metal movement are back and as brutal as ever...

santa cruz SANTA CRUZ REVEAL LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'MY REMEDY'
Get a taste of the new album with 'My Remedy', the third single to be released...

Shattered sun LEGENDARY BRITISH MELODIC ROCKERS FM RETURN WITH 'HEROES & VILLAINS' ON APRIL 17TH
"We're on a roll! Some of the tracks on this album are better than anything that the band has ever produced, and Steve's voice is as good as ever..."

nightwish NIGHTWISH ANNOUNCE ONLY UK DATE THIS YEAR WITH ARCH ENEMY SUPPORTING
"Who would have thought about headlining at Wembley Arena one day when we were starting our UK touring history..."

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS GO UNPLUGGED AND PERSONAL: ACOUSTIC DATES ANNOUNCED
After last year's highly acclaimed unplugged tour, The Quireboys are pleased to announce a very intimate string of evenings early 2015...

killit KILLIT UNLEASH DEBUT VIDEO AND ANNOUNCE FIRST EVER LIVE SHOW
'Shut It Down' is the first single from the album and is out now and available...

state villains STATE VILLAINS TO RELEASE SECOND EP IN SPRING
State Villains have an honesty that harkens back to an era of integrity and a distinct lack of gimmicks...

chris slade BREAKING NEWS: CHRIS SLADE IS BACK IN AC/DC
Chris will rejoin the legendary hard rockers for their appearance at the 57th annual Grammy Awards as well as the band's upcoming tour...

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