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Quid Pro Quo
on 31 May 2011
As a long-time Quo fan, I really like this album but this comes as no surprise to me. To me, Quid Pro Quo sounds like the culmination of Status Quo rediscovering their soul (their `Quoness' if you like) that started with Under the Influence in 1999, continued with Heavy Traffic in 2002 and was consolidated on The Party Ain't Over Yet (2005) and In Search of the Forth Chord (2007). After the best part of 20 years of trying not to be the Quo we know and love, the period from 99 onwards was, for the most part, a return to Quo rocking out in a way only they can, interspersed with gentler moments - just like the classic period in the early 70s.
Quid Pro Quo (in parts) is the heaviest of these new Quo classics and has plenty of `attack' and aggression akin (to me at least) to On the Level or Blue for You. While I don't adore every track, those I do like I believe will become Quo classics. Two Way Traffic is fast and raucous in a way that reminds me of Is There A Better Way from Blue for You; Dust to Gold and Frozen Hero (my two favourite tracks) have that unmistakable Quo hardness and shuffle but sound quite contemporary. Movin' On is another track that wouldn't have sounded out of place on On the Level or Blue for You such is it's pace and heaviness, but also its catchy melody. These tracks are, I believe, special and could quite happily sit alongside Caroline, Roll Over Lay Down, Backwater etc. in the Quo `Hall of Fame'.
In addition to these, Rock n Roll n You, Leave a Little Light On, Let's Rock and Better than That rock along quite nicely for me and are as enjoyable as anything Quo have ever done.
What stops Quid Pro Quo from getting the full 5 stars (which I don't give out often) for me is that while I love the aforementioned tracks, some of the others I could take or leave. I don't understand why artists now pack as many songs on an album as possible (I have one by Tori Amos that has something like 23 tracks!). If Quid Pro Quo had stuck to 10 or 12 tracks, then I would be talking about one of the finest Quo albums period. Then again, the few tracks I could live without will probably be some Quo fans' faves such is the band's wide appeal, so don't let this put you off.
Furthermore, what makes the truly classic Quo albums classic is the mix of lighter tracks with the full-on 12 bar onslaught. There is no track akin to All the Reasons, A Year, Gurdundula, Lonely Man, Living on an Island etc. to break up the album and for this reason it's a 4 star rather than 5 star album.
In conclusion, for me, Quid Pro Quo is a very welcome addition to my Quo collection containing some really classic tracks. If this was to be Quo's final album (which is possible) then it's not a bad way to bow out with the crunching guitars, catchy melodies and 12 bar mayhem reminding me why I loved them in the first place.