Sound — 9
From the intro to re-recording of classic 'Caroline' to that of a brand new version of 'Rockin' All Over The World', "Riffs" doesn't let up. It rocks from beginning to end. With five re-made Quo classics and ten covers, some people may argue that Quo have once more sold out and had to rely on cover versions of songs rock fans have heard hundreds of times just to keep their head above the water. Needless to say, each track swings and drives like Quo and all the tracks actually sound good too but you can't help remembering the covers in their former glory. Few bands can cover a song and make it better than the original. Quo are rarely one of them but they come very, very close. Nice guitar tones, much better than that of 'Don't Stop' and the drums are very tasteful. Great bass work. Rhino makes his debut appearance on lead vocal for Quo as he belts out the J. Geils Band's 'Centerfold' which happens to be one of the best covers on here for me.
Lyrics — 9
Singing is good and the lyrics of course are some of rock's best. Rhino's vocals are much better than you expect them to be and there's even some harmony on tracks that had none before and I mean proper harmony, not just "singing a little higher or lower". As well as some fantastic rock piano, Andrew Bown's vocals are the best we've heard them in a long time.
Overall Impression — 8
So, the re-recorded Quo tracks are different from the old ones but just as good. It shows the new line up do things a little differently but still know how to rock them like the Quo we know and love. It's the best collection of covers I've ever heard the band do but it's still a let down after 'Heavy Traffic' but the fans among you will know the bands views on this album and the story of it's release. However, if you want to start collecting Quo's covers discs, then start with this one. 01. Caroline - swings just as much as the 70's classic, but has had the sound cleaned up. Good or bad thing? 02. I Fought The Law - the 'Clash' favourite. This typical punk track has kept it's fire but the sound is really just not working on this track. 03. Born To Be Wild - needs no introduction. Swings more than the original recording and is played tastefully and convincingly. 04. Takin' Care Of Business - a little uneven mix but it still feels great. 05. Wild One - Rick's 'Elvis' impression is a nice touch but it's no cigar of course. Is anyone's? One of the weaker tracks in my opinion. Too tongue in cheek. 06. On The Road Again - great guitar intro. If this was a Quo original, it would go down in history. 07. Tobacco Road - Quo can play the blues but better than this. It still swings as do all these tracks but I've heard their blues better. Nice overall sound. 08. Centerfold - a very fun recording. Every member on form here. 09. All The Day And All Of The Night - new guy Matt really shows himself off here and rocks along with the band. Rossi's solo kicks arse. Never liked the song? Me neither. You will now, I do. 10. Don't Bring Me Down - again, I've never liked ELO although I can appreciate their music. A nice rendition of one of ELO's signature tracks. 11. Juniors Wailing - a cover anyway, this one swings like blues should. It's a nice shuffle and a semitone higher than it's original Quo 'going over'. 12. Pump It Up - nice bassline, boring tune. Once more, never liked Costello's recording. 13. Down The Dustpipe - great tune but a cover even when Quo did it first! Good sound, great feel. 14. Whatever You Want - feels great and sounds good. I prefer it to the 79 version. Two part harmony is much clearer on this version. 15. RAOTW - another cover! These newly recorded Quo tracks are like they are played live as I remember and "I like it..." Loved that classic piano intro? It's back and extended! So some bad choices on here but all in all, a very good collection of covers if there is such a thing.