A raw, natural and analogue sounding recording

The Quireboys have been churning out albums fairly regularly in the last decade. Their most recent album sees the band in top form, with a creatively focused and inspired release that fans of the days back in the 90s will enjoy without being reminded of when grunge took over.

Put simply, The Quireboys know their stuff and have no intention or reinventing the wheel. The core line up has been consistent for many years with the only relatively recent change being in the rhythm section several years back. Since Amazing Disgrace was almost derailed due to various hindrances including lost equipment and financial hurdles, the decision to record this album in the residential Rockfield Studios in Wales (yes, where Queen constructed the classic hit Bohemian Rhapsody) was a masterstroke for re-invigoration.

Amazing Disgrace is the twelfth album from The Quireboys and they’ve gone the route of making sure nothing is overstated. In an age of quantised and heavily gated, over produced music, it is nice to hear a raw, natural and analogue sounding recording that flows with a rock and roll feel that sits well with anything from The Black Crowes and Tom Petty’s music to, say, the lighter moments of Deep Purple and Whitesnake.

Kicking off with the Original Black Eyed Son, the bluesy shuffle rhythms from guitarists Guy Griffin and Paul Guerin work well with pianist Keith Weir’s Hammond organ parts to let the rhythm section of drummer Dave McCluskey and bassist Nick Mailing lock in. This tight unit works well throughout the album with enough wiggle room for bits of soloing and various embellishments from all players to be interspersed judiciously. Spike has that gravelly vocal delivery that suits the musical style perfectly. There’s the attitude of Neil Young with a hint of a Blackie Lawless-styled snarl but a fairly large portion of Rod Stewart and Tom Keifer combined.

The next couple of tracks in Sinner Serenade and Seven Deadly Sins offer the sound of instruments being coaxed for different sounds with more vintage equipment but it all works whether it be a shaking vibrato or a slightly funk infused rhythm. Most of the album was written by Gray and Griffin but the album’s title track was also penned by Guerin. It uses the panning of guitars well to separate parts, giving it a live room feel and section float in and out nicely with the main chorus being both melodic and catchy.

Further into the album, style changes are explored with a country tinged ballad in the track Eve of the Summertime, a repetitive but blues rock slow burner in California Blues and the laidback, vocally driven This is It, enhanced by some tasteful fiddle and acoustic guitar.

Layering and building of instrumentation bolsters the delivery of Slave #1 starting with a descending guitar line introduction that is soon reinforced with harmonising yet different music figures that work together. Meanwhile, the rhythm section underpinning the track is not overbearing despite the four on the floor vibe. It is very well done and apart from the title track, a definite album highlight.

Feels like a Long Time benefits from key changes and backing vocals while Dancing in Paris has all the hallmarks of a piano and vocal Bon Jovi ballad but without the mainstream clichés and with a more gentle guitar solo. It also works because again, the rhythm parts don’t get in the way of the vocal melody.

The last track on the album, Medusa, My Girl is another song with fiddle and Hammond organ working together with backing vocals and the rhythm guitar bed. The chorus is also catchy and this song would no doubt work well in the live setting.

Do not be put off by any generic or Seventies copycat labels. This is the real deal with a great live performance vibe which any listener with a sense of musical appreciation should be able to hear that in the music. Not bad at all, with plenty of variety and a worthy addition to your music collection.

Original Black Eyed Son
Sinner Serenade
Seven Deadly Sins
Amazing Disgrace
Eve of the Summertime
California Blues
This is It
Feels Like a Long Time
Slave #1
Dancing in Paris
Medusa, My Girl.