There’s something to be said for knowing your style and sticking adamantly to it. Status Quo have certainly lived up to their Latin-inspired name and continue the theme with Quid Pro Quo. From playing their first live gig in 1967 to members Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt being honoured by the Queen last year, the mighty Quo have never deviated from their standard brand of very British rock’n’roll, and 29 albums – 29 albums! – later, the quality remains surprisingly high.
Having signed a deft deal with Tesco, releasing Quid Pro Quo exclusively through the supermarket giant for its first week, the featured 14 new songs, plus the 2010 version of In the Army Now and 10 live tracks, are certainly good value for money if we’re talking quantity – 25 tracks for £8.97 works out at 35p a track.
Even if some of the track titles are worthy of some sort of rock cliché/ pun prize – Can’t See For Looking, Two Way Traffic, Reality Cheque – the new songs are a more varied bunch than the band’s last few efforts, and offer up solid, if unimaginative, fare lyric wise.
The double album is, naturally, being released in time for Father’s Day, and backing the album with a Greatest Hits live package means they’ve covered all bases. (I wonder how many dads have been bought the same Quo ‘collection’ each year by unwitting unimaginative kids?) Quo certainly know their fans and their niche market and the fact that they don’t falter from what they do best shows impressive stamina and confidence too. There’s something very admirable in the attempt to appear consistent.
Lead single Rock’n’Roll’n’You is a good example of what Quid Pro Quo is like overall. The video shows the band playing enthusiastically in the studio, and much of this album comes across as being taped straight off, without so much of the heavy production of their last full length release In Search Of The Fourth Chord. Rossi’s vocals are impressive on a lot of the new tracks, lacklustre on others; maybe a leftover legacy from recent throat troubles.
Andy Brown’s co-writing and guitar part on Frozen Hero is the highlight of the album – the only track that follows a completely fresh tack amongst the 14, and Rossi really shines too. The band show a real glimpse at the flair and imagination they once possessed in their ’80s heyday.
Stand out tracks Dust To Gold and album closer The Winner both show that when Quo are good, they are really good. However balance them out by boring unremarkable songs like Let’s Rock and It’s All About You, and we have a bit of a patchwork album that will most likely be devoured by fans, but it’s mixture of quirkiness and blandness is unlikely to win over any new ones.
The double album, for those aforementioned fans, is also available as a limited edition deluxe box set – featuring a Quid Pro Quo banknote, t-shirt , badges, poster as well as even more bonus live tracks. Not your usual supermarket fare, but good old fashioned institutionalised rock’n’roll value nonetheless.