The Devil In Me finds Suzi Quatro still able to kick out the jams

Possessed of the past, treasured pioneer Suzi Quatro rocks into the present on The Devil In Me

Suzi Quatro: The Devil In Me
(Image: © Steamhammer)

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Making a seismic impact in the 70s on this side of the Atlantic by combining the slam-dunk chart-toppers Can The Can and Devil Gate Drive – as well as Top 10 smashes 48 Crash, The Wild One and If You Can’t Give Me Love – with the era-defining imagery of low-slung bass guitar and leather catsuits, Suzi Quatro proved that rock’n’roll wasn’t just the preserve of excitable lads and their dads, as she also inspired multiple teens of her own gender. 

Indeed such has been her indelible mark on British rock and pop culture that it’s entirely understandable that she’s viewed as one of our own. Lest we forget, she was the only non-domestic performer to be declared one of a dozen Queens Of British Pop by the BBC in 2009.

And yet, for all that, if her latest album The Devil In Me proves anything it’s that you can take Suzi Quatro out of Detroit, but you’ll never take Detroit out of Suzi. With a legacy that includes the MC5, The Stooges, the Amboy Dukes and others, the Motor City has always rocked harder and louder than most. 

Factor in its blues heritage in the shape of John Lee Hooker, the R&B of Andre Williams and the pop colossus that was Motown Records, and the influence of Suzi’s home town still reaches across the ages.

That proves to be both a blessing and a curse on this, Quatro’s seventeenth studio album. As with its predecessor, No Control, its dozen tracks were written and recorded with her son Richard Tuckey, and they make considerable nods to her roots and inspirations.

There’s an undeniable sense of comfort to be had as a howl of feedback gives way to the deliciously crunchy riff of the title track that opens the album. 

The righteous soul rocker Betty Who is a fist-pumping blast, while elsewhere the hard-driving and funky chops of Hey Queenie display Quatro’s domination of the bottom end. 

Alas You Can’t Dream It sounds way too much like the theme to an 80s cop show to be entirely convincing, while Isolation Blues is as surprising as Monday following Sunday. 

But all is not lost; Quatro is on safer ground cranking up the volume and kicking out the jams with the filthy rock’n’roll of Motor City Riders. If the devil does have the best tunes, then Suzi Quatro is grabbing enough of them here.

Julian Marszalek

Julian Marszalek is the former Reviews Editor of The Blues Magazine. He has written about music for Music365, Yahoo! Music, The Quietus, The Guardian, NME and Shindig! among many others. As the Deputy Online News Editor at Xfm he revealed exclusively that Nick Cave’s second novel was on the way. During his two-decade career, he’s interviewed the likes of Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Ozzy Osbourne, and has been ranted at by John Lydon. He’s also in the select group of music journalists to have actually got on with Lou Reed. Marszalek taught music journalism at Middlesex University and co-ran the genre-fluid Stow Festival in Walthamstow for six years.