Having enjoyed a surprise rehabilitation with the chart success of the single "Jam Side Down", Status Quo appear bullish and unrepentant on their 33rd album, Heavy Traffic
. With clubs like School Disco hammering their tracks to a fresh young audience, Rossi and Parfitt probably feel they've finally been vindicated for sticking doggedly to their goodtime boogie niche.
The template, like the song, certainly remains the same here. You can sense your thumbs twitching to link themselves in your belt loops as those familiar three chords trundle through their paces, while lyrically Rossi pitches halfway between nostalgia and denial. "Blues & Rhythm" grows misty eyed at teenage years spent in the bedroom with the first Marshall stack, leaving the likes of "Heavy Traffic" and "Solid Gold" to indulge in escapist road fantasies. Alas, "The Oriental" is a step too far. Starting promisingly with the Gallagher-esque nursery rhyming of "Her name was Mia/from North Korea/I said come over/bring your Landrover" (Landrover?), the song rapidly goes down hill. After this horrific own goal, Status Quo's "feelgood" rock & roll doesn't feel so good after all and the album never recovers. --Ian Watson