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HARDWARES

STATUS QUO

The Frantic Four Reunion 2013

(Armoury Records)

Reviewed by : Martin Popoff
Rating : 6.0

First off, whether it’s the Frantic Four—namely mainstays Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt, plus classic lineup bassist Alan Lancaster and drummer John Coghlan—or any configuration of the existing band, this could have been a blazing live record. But what the much vaunted reformation of the Frantic Four allows is a focus on the old classics and that excuse makes this set particularly appealing. However, although nearly all the fast and heavy post-boogie rockers we would have wanted out of Quo are here, there’s also some of the band’s dopey blues boom material, adding.. what? Authenticity? Nah, bring on the Quo metal, and like I say, that’s here in spades, firing the likes of “Backwater,” “Just Take Me,” “Oh Baby,” “Rain,” “Down Down,” “Little Lady,” “Forty-Five Hundred Times” and most rockingest, “Big Fat Mama” and “Is There A Better Way.” Missing? Man, not much... maybe “Drifting Away” or “Too Far Gone?” It’s all here. But I must say, most of these renditions don’t headbang as hard as the studio versions, let alone the versions from 1977’s seminal “Live!.” This is mostly due to the slightly wobbly vocal work and the odd thump coming outta Coghlan, who wants to subvert these songs with bass drum on all of 1,2,3 and 4 rather than take charge with any sort of frantic groove. In other words, he anchors these songs Watts-like rather than... well, like I say, A/B these “On The Level” and “Quo” selections to the studio versions and those old renditions will send you off the handle, comparatively speaking. In fact “Backwater,” “Just Take Me,” “Little Lady” and “Down Down” in studio form are about the most powerful arguments for the magic and adrenaline that can be squeezed out of the boogie rock idiom as anything this writer’s pretty much ever heard. On the positive, the production is scintillating and sizzling old school live sound, everything sitting nicely in the mix, including the crowd, who is just loving it, as would have I had I been at this particular legendary senior citizens sit-down. Still, again, I feel like these songs had a huge legacy to live up to, and whether it’s age or even deliberate choice of tone and vibe, I just think there’s really not much frantic here.



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