THE QUIREBOYS - Amazing Disgrace (Album)

 
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ALLY CUTHBERT

 

Not even getting caught up in the Pledge Music problems could stop THE QUIREBOYS from producing one of their best original albums in a decade, and that’s surprising even myself, having followed this band for over thirty years. Spikes’ vocals are as clear and crusty as ever, yet the production has given a sharper, cleaner sound to the band than they have managed in quite a while. Thanks to their label ‘Off Yer Rocka’ stepping in to fund and organise the pre-orders, the new album ‘Amazing Disgrace’ is available now digitally, but my only criticism is they didn’t manage to deliver the signed CD on release day, as the band were too busy currently touring to actually sign the sleeves! Which is just typical for the band, who are constantly on the road, either full electric with support from Dave McClusky on drums and Gary Ivin on bass, or unplugged when just the basic fab four of Spike, Keith, Paul and Guy do the rounds of some of the country’s smaller, more intimate venues. But fear not, physical copies will be available from 19th April.

The album opens with Keith Weirs distinctive keyboards on ‘Original Black Eyed Son’, not to be confused with the 2014 album track ‘Black Eyed Son’. QUIREBOYS do have a history of including older songs on their albums, but not on this one, this is eleven brand new tracks that have the distinctive QUIREBOYS Honky Tonk Blues sound, yet they’ve still managed to make each track sound fresh by experimenting with a bit of Country or Americana, and on this track, we have brass horns complimenting the keyboards.

The support given to Spike by the backing vocals that worked so well on previous album ‘Twisted Love’ is again incorporated into ‘Sinners Serenade’ to boost the chorus and give so much more power and volume that is sometimes lacking in the live shows if Spikes throat isn’t 100%.

THE QUIREBOYS like to write from experience, so they must have had a bad night in a casino to come up with ‘Seven Deadly Sins’, a laid back track, with a big chorus, and a funky bass line from hand for hire Ivin. The other part time member of the QUIREBOYS, drummer Dave hammers out the beat like a machine for title track ‘Amazing Disgrace’, with Griff and Paul pulling out all the riffs and melodies for another big chorus that should fit well in the live set for some crowd participation.

‘Eve of the Summertime’ is a ballad straight out of the QUIREBOYS book of heartbreakers, this one is up there with ‘Mona Lisa Smile’ and ‘I Don’t Love You Anymore’, with a touch of country mixed in with the blues. Whereas next track ‘California Blues’ is more rocking than blues, back to the old sleazy guitar sound, and bar room lyrics that are the trademark of their distinctive sound.

Acoustic guitar and fiddle opens ‘This Is It’, another one of their new tracks that incorporates a slightly different sound, with Weir switching between piano and Hammond organ to mix up the backing track, and the fiddle giving a folksy feeling to yet another heart breaker ballad from Spike and co. A similar tale of pain and heart break in ‘Feels Like a Long Time’ actually has a more uplifting beat to it, with a cheery chorus and strong backing harmonies.

‘Slave Number 1’ starts heavier and darker than anything previous, but still has that distinctive QUIREBOY swing to it, and a big harmonious chorus that couldn’t be mistaken for any other band. Which is why ‘Dancing in Paris’ is a standout for the simple reason it doesn’t sound like the QUIREBOYS. They said they diversified on this album, and this track is a prime example of a change from the successful formula of the past. Griff and Paul strum quietly away while Keir makes every note hang in the air instead of tinkling away on the ivories. And Spikes vocals are clearer and cleaner than they have been for a long time, as he story tells his way through yet another ballad.

Final track ‘Medusa My Girl’ is back to the classic QUIREBOYS sound, with Spike growling into the mic, and McCluskey punching out a beat like a heavyweight on a training bag. The fiddle makes a comeback, but more of a reel than a ballad this time. Listen carefully until the very end, and you will hear what sounds like McCluskey laying down his sticks as if to say ‘job done’, and it certainly is well done!

 

The Band:

Spike (Vocals)

Guy Griffin (Guitar)

Keith Weir (Keyboards)

Paul Guerin (Guitar)

Dave McCluskey (Drums)

Gary Ivin (Bass)

 

Tracks:

1. Original Black Eyed Son

2. Sinners Serenade

3. Seven Deadly Sins

4. Amazing Disgrace

5. Eve of the Summertime

6. California Blues

7. This is it

8. Feels Like a Long Time

9. Slave #1

10. Dancing in Paris

11. Medusa My Girl

 

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