Gipsy kings of ragtag rock, it’s difficult to believe that Northern upstarts The Quireboys have been lugging their caravan up and down rock’s rugged trails for around three decades now. Back with their latest studio effort ‘Twisted Love’ - their tenth in all - Spike and the lads’ Rod Stewart And The Faces influenced blues rock sound has changed little since the release of their chart-bothering debut ‘A Bit Of What You Fancy’ back in 1989. Now firmly re-established after a brief hiatus in the mid-90’s, the ‘boys continue to please audiences everywhere with their down ‘n’ dirty tunes and powerful live show.
‘Twisted Love’ follows on from their last release; 2015’s ‘St Cecilia And The Gypsy Soul’, focusing, naturally, on lead singer Spike’s gravelly delivery which is underpinned by some great twanging guitar riffs from long standing pairing Guy Griffin and Paul Guerin. Once again co-produced by associate Mark Ekelund, from opener ‘Torn And Frayed’ to the closing ‘Midnight Collective’, it’s a release that prides itself on being built on no frills rock ‘n’ roll, and is proudly ballad free.
The aforementioned ‘Torn And Frayed’ kicks things off. An up tempo shuffler with a catchy sing-along chorus and some tasty harmonica work, it’s quickly followed by the stirring ‘Ghost Train’, which adds Stones-influenced slide guitar and gospel backing vocals.
Where ‘Killing Time’ takes a slightly different track, unhurriedly rolling along with its big fat riff riding over an odd time signature, it’s the driving title track and first single that sees the band in top form. With Angus Young style picking and some excellent Hammond organ undertones courtesy of keys man Keith Weir, it’s among the disc’s standouts.
Elsewhere, ‘Breaking Rocks’ has a more laid back feel, but is every bit as infectious as the more obvious tracks on offer, but as the album rumbles on, the thing that's hits the listener like a ton of bricks, is the quality of songs on offer throughout. There are certainly no fillers to be heard, and pleasingly, both the production and performances are flawless.
All the while, it's Spike’s whisky-soaked voice that is rightly the star, and while for some, it can be a bit like Marmite, it’s instantly recognisable and bursting with the character that defines the band.
All in all, ‘Twisted Love’ is yet another strong release from the Quireboys, who have been releasing consistent albums since their rebirth. The late summer of 2016 is the time to fall in love all over again, as The Quireboys rediscover their passion for quintessential British rock ‘n’ roll.
By Lee Kendrick on 22nd September 2016.
'Twisted Love' is out now, via Off Yer Rocka Recordings.