Title - 'Aquostic: Stripped Bare' (Ear Music)
Artist - Status Quo
OK, this has to be one of the most unexpected, most inventive, most perfectly timed albums to come out in the past 50 years! Status Quo have been at the top of their game for 50 years and just when you thought they had brought out all they could mine from their extensive catalog, ... Bam! Aquostic: Stripped Bare is the legendary British band singing all their hits, but with the amps turned off!
With an album containing 22 completely reworked, raw Quo hits, Aquostic showcases the melodies behind the three chord phenomenon. Helped out on some tracks by female backing vocalists, additional musicians, and even a string section, the newly-rendered tracks bring a whole new, fresh personality to each and every one of these tracks.
With a disturbingly awesome album cover shot by none other than rocker, Bryan Adams, we open majestically on the orchestral-stunning early classic, ‘Pictures of Matchstick Men.’ Which actually gives you the most perfect introduction to what to fully expect from this incredible, daring new album. Next up is the bouncy fun, harmonica-driven American tale of ‘Down The Dustpipe,’ which is backed by both the lesser known ‘Nanana’ and the always-brilliant sing-along of, ‘Paper Plane.’ The accordian on this is simply divine, along with the backing of an acoustic guitar it brings a whole new life to the classic.
The Rick Parfitt-sung ‘All The Reasons’ is an unusual joy to behold, not just for the fact he hasn’t exactly got the best singing voice, but that it’s another beloved album track. Indeed, the piano-fused ‘Reason For Living’ the 60’s sway of ‘And It’s Better Now’ are also both album tracks, and they are backed by the powerhaus cut, ‘Caroline.’ Even in this acoustic setting, the song sounds only a few speeds slower than its original; that’s just how good Quo are!
A special reworking of their stage number, ‘Softer Ride’ is backed by the lesser-known ‘Claudie’ and then a delightful, charmingly free flowing, ‘Break The Rules.’ Along for the musical ride, next comes another of their powerhaus cuts, ‘Down Down, which even in this acoustic form still barely manages to stay on the tracks itself! The tuneful plod of ‘Rain’ is next and is backed by the rollicking quartet of mega hits of, ‘Rockin’ All Over The World,’ ‘Again And Again,’ ‘Whatever You Want,’ and then ‘What You’re Proposing.’
The beautifully-majestic ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll’ is next, with the fan favorite, ‘Don’t Drive My Car’ along thereafter, but it’s their fresh rendition of fan-favorite, ‘Marguerita Time’ that is yet another cut that makes this album a true treasure to behold. The Irish jig of 'Burning Bridges' is next, with the whole album being lovingly rounded out by an incredibly subtle, reworked beyond belief, 'Rock 'Til You Drop.'
Reviewed by: Russell A Trunk