“Heavy traffic” (2002) marked Status Quo’s grand return to rock n roll. Or so they say. Those who maintain that opinion surely have missed a jolly-rockin’ little gem called “Under the influence”, released in 1999. Still, “Heavy traffic” was in certain ways a new beast. Not only were Quo completed by hard-hitting drummer Matthew Letley, but mainman Francis Rossi was re-joined by Bob Young, his long-lost composing partner, who co-wrote half of the record’s fourteen songs. “Writing with Bob again has given me a whole new lease of life” said Rossi with singer/guitarist Rick Parfitt adding “It feels real again”.

There are many highlights on this album. Parfitt’s “Creepin’ up on you” is the band’s hardest blues for many years. The mid-song riffage of “The oriental” is the heaviest music they’d done in decades. The very uplifting title track repeats its mantra-like title for a full minute after the song “being over”. Melancholy minor key boogie “Solid gold” is highly effective, and the high energy levels of “Do it again” or “I don’t remember anymore” can’t be denied. Even less heavy tunes such as the quirky “Diggin’ Burt Bacharach” and keyboard player Andrew Bown’s acoustically driven “Green” drip of sweat; so does “The madness”, a single b-side resurrected for this re-release of the album. Only hit single “Jam side down” and b-side “You let me down” hint on the commercial schlager-pop which dominated so much of Quo’s previous ten years (an era which wasn’t that bad, after all).

This three-cd package ends with a full concert from the Heitere Festival, Switzerland, 2003. It’s not a perfect recording (what’s with the cymbals??), and one could wonder what its purpose is. Do the band and label not really trust the qualities of “Heavy traffic”, efter all? Still, it’s always nice to hear “Caroline”, “Big fat mama”, “Whatever you want” etcetera once again, this time coupled with a selection of “Heavy traffic” tunes.

Artist: Status Quo
Title: Heavy Traffic – deluxe reissue
Label: Universal
Rate: 8/10
Date of release  22-09-30
Stand out track: “Solid gold”

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September 21, 2022

There are many highlights on this album. Parfitt's "Creepin' up on you" is the band's hardest blues for many years. The mid-song riffage of "The oriental" is the heaviest music they'd done in decades.

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