If Janis Joplin and Rod Stewart had had a baby, then force-fed it cigarettes and whiskey from infancy, it woulda grown up to sound a lot like Spike, lead vocalist of THE QUIREBOYS. His agonizing croak leads this long-in-the-tooth band of STONES plagiarists on a shambling 40 minutes of bluesy, piano-and-guitar driven heartbreak rock.
The band has remained import-only to American fans since their heavily-hyped debut in 1990 (released here as THE LONDON QUIREBOYS), and trying to sort out who's in the band, how many times they've broken up, and what their current status is would give a NAPALM DEATH fan a headache. All you really need to know is that their amiable boogie-rock will find a happy home in the CD collections of FOUR HORSEMEN and BLACK CROWES fans, and that "The Finer Stuff" would be a massive hit single if you could still get rock and roll on the radio any more.
THE QUIREBOYS were the sort of act that got lumped into the hair metal scene in their heyday (not that the label marketeers weren't actively pushing them into just that sort of image). But really, this is just a hard rock band, playing genial bar rock well-suited for the soundtrack to a night of drinking and carrying on. "Well Oiled" describes them well, and not just as another term for "wasted," either — this is a hard-ridden band, able to lock down the simplest groove and make it sound like the most important thing you've ever heard. Not everything here is essential, but "What's Your Name", "Sweet As the Rain" and "The Finer Stuff" are all bona-fide classics, the kind of timeless, lived-in songs that coulda come out in 1975, 1985 or now, and remain just as poignant. Good stuff.