AC/DC: PWR UP (Sony, digital outlets)

 |   |  1 min read

AC/DC: PWR UP (Sony, digital outlets)
Okay, let's get the old joke out of the way first: How can you tell one AC/DC album from another?

Answer: You can't.

Not true of course, but – like Status Quo and the Ramones – there is a patented AC/DC sound and if you expect that on this, their 17thstudio album, they were going to announce a new direction then you'd be fooling yourself.

So no, there's no acoustic numbers, foray into world music or Brian Eno at the desk offering advice.

Perhaps the only surprising thing about this remarkably strong, 12-song collection is that it exists at all.

In recent years they lost their founder/rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, drummer Phil Rudd had considerable and widely reported troubles involving drugs, money, threatening to kill and odd behaviour, singer Brian Johnson lost his hearing (perhaps that isn't so surprising) and there was an announcement bassist Cliff Williams was quitting (since redacted) . . .

But here's (almost all) the old gang back on a bunch of songs which should have a registered track mark symbol after each title (except perhaps Through the Mists of Time which takes a minute of Cold Chisel-cum-indie rock before it gets to the archetypal accadacca sound).

There are powerful stadium rockers as always in Shot in the Dark (which sounded like “I shot the dog” on a first hearing), the tightly-wound chant-alongs of Kick You When You're Down and Demon Fire (with its old blues imagery), Rejection borrows a touch from the Who's Pictures of Lily but pointedly goes nowhere else with the chords . . .

With only one song here ticking past the four minute mark, AC/DC are masters of pop economy (check Systems Down by way of example) as much as brittle and disciplined rock.

All the songs are credited to Malcolm and Angus Young, which suggests a lot of ideas were laid down half a decade ago, the textbook riffs are all in place, producer Brendan O'Brien is on hand, Johnson's voice sounds much as it ever did, Angus barely wastes a note on what passes for guitar solos . . .

AC/DC are back and – pleasingly for fans – it's like they've been away.

Trademark registered . . . 45 years ago.

.

You can hear this album on Spotify here.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Jones: To the Bone (Meme)

Jones: To the Bone (Meme)

On the basis of this, his previous solo albums and those with Miracle Mile (with Marcus Cliffe, the multi-instrumentalist here who also produces) you'd imagine Britain's Trevor Jones this way: it's... > Read more

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column which scoops up releases by international artists, in much the same way as our SHORT CUTS column... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

FEMI KUTI INTERVIEWED AT WOMAD (2014): A voice in the wilderness

FEMI KUTI INTERVIEWED AT WOMAD (2014): A voice in the wilderness

Elsewhere has already published an in-depth interview with Femi Kuti but we also caught up with him at a press conference at the recent Womad where he performed. Politics was,... > Read more

DAVID BOWIE IN THE SEVENTIES (2013): Ch-ch-changes

DAVID BOWIE IN THE SEVENTIES (2013): Ch-ch-changes

That one of the most identifiable and famous men on the planet, David Bowie, managed – in this age of tweeting and endless internet gossip -- to spend the past two years recording his new... > Read more