“Beautiful Curse”? I don’t know how The Quireboys stumbled across the phrase, but it’s a pretty good summation of these lovable rogues’ career. Cursed to be forever compared to their most obvious influence, The Faces, and made all the more beautiful by the fact that if you’re gonna sound like anybody then it might as well be one of the greatest rock n’ roll bands of all time. And they do wear it well… still!
I’ve had some great nights out in the presence of this admittedly much-changed bunch of reprobates and it’s like old times as ‘Too Much of a Good Thing’ snakes out of the speakers and Spike drawls “Alright….c’mon!” He’s got his arm around your shoulders, thrusting a bottle of
wine into your hand and steering you back towards the saloon doors. It’s a great way to fall back into bad habits.
Of course, The Quireboys‘ habits can be a little predictable and self destructive. Several times during the course of this album they lapse into hollow, pouty posturing, too busy strutting and preening to remember to write a decent song. Those times are, thankfully, outnumbered by a sparky and often surprisingly mature collection of tunes. The title track, ‘Talk of the Town’ and the gorgeous ‘I Died Laughing’ display a bittersweet edge that has clearly come with experience and could be Radio 2 hits in a kinder, hipper universe. I’m not trying to damn The Quireboys with faint praise, though, as these are fine, grown up rock n’ roll songs that the writers of ‘Sex Party’ could not have produced, way back when.
Despite all this it’s two out and out rockers at the centre of the album that get the old heart racing fastest. ‘Homewreckers and Heartbreakers’ brings the Southern fried funk to the fore and will have you dancing on the table of a New Orleans bar, wildly spilling your rum and coke. And then a slight, and let’s face it rare, stylistic surprise as ‘Diamonds and Dirty Stones’ leaps forward like The Rolling Stones circa “Undercover” and slinks and sneers like I’ve never heard the band manage before. It’s terrific and will keep you grooving right down into a particularly seedy looking alleyway. I can’t stop playing it and if I’m in a situation where my ludicrous gyrations may alarm or offend and am forced to stay in my seat then I can’t sit still!
This is as good a bunch of tunes as you’ll find on their debut album, “A Bit Of What You Fancy”, which still makes up a sizeable chunk of their live set. I look forward to hearing these songs performed live. If you see me dancing, kindly avert your gaze and go back to your drink.