By spring 1974 and the release of Status Quo's seventh album, the band was already regarded as among the most reliable institutions in British rock, denim-clad purveyors of a rocking, rolling boogie beat that never knew when to quit. And, when "Break the Rules" peeled off the still unreleased LP to give the group its fourth Top 20 hit in little more than a year, it was clear that Quo would be business as usual. Eight tracks followed the now standard format for a new Quo album, a neat division between the two sets of songwriters (Rossi/Young, Parfitt/Lancaster), a final track that went on forever, and -- best of all -- a couple of intros that sounded nothing at all like Status Quo. Only the intros, though, and it quickly become one of the best games of the age, trying to predict how long it would last before the bandmembers ripped off their disguises and unleashed the boogie. "Backwater" keeps the mask on for one minute and eight seconds, but it's a hallmark of Status Quo's genius that, all these years later, it can still keep you guessing. "Just Take Me," too, packs more than its fair share of surprises, rolling in on a drum solo that itself grows out of "Backwater"'s back end. And if "Break the Rules" contrarily doesn't break a single one, that's probably just as well; there have been enough shocks already. Elsewhere, Quo indeed settles down to the status quo, with even the ballad "Lonely Man" holding onto the spirit of the band's earliest boogie excursions ("In My Chair" and "Gerdundula" spring to mind). The pièce de résistance, however, is the closing "Slow Train," an eight-minute epic that confusingly drives like an express, then collides with a Gaelic jig. The Chieftains would do such things a lot better -- but Status Quo did it louder.
AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson