‘I’m sick of it when people say we’ve already released eleven albums that sound exactly the same. We have already released 12 albums that sound exactly the same. ‘ That’s what the great Angus Young said back in 1990. Afterwards the group released many more records which, to my great reassurance and unutterable satisfaction, all sounded the same. A group that is as realiable as an atomic clock, where do you still find that?
It’s no exaggeration to call it a shame if you’ve never heard of Australian rock band AC / DC. They have now been around for almost half a century, and are pretty much part of every culture.
But the famous AC / DC did not escape the test of time either. Founding member Malcolm Young passed away and singer Brian Johnson left the band due to hearing problems. We should also not forget that their original singer, Bon Scott, died in the eighties.
Meanwhile, Brian is back and Malcolm has been replaced by his cousin Stevie Young. Cliff Williams, who gave up a few years ago, also returned. The line-up of AC / DC, the real line-up of the past twenty years, is back after many years. (Sorry Axl, you’re definitely not one of them.) Take that ‘test of time’, you can’t stop AC / DC!
How does Power Up, the seventeenth album by AC / DC sound?
Not really any different from the other sixteen, actually.
Do we have a problem with that? Not really.
In fact, the gentlemen don’t even have to make new music anymore. Everyone respects them, their legacy is enormous and the success incomparable. But who dares say to a man like Angus Young, “Enough is enough, old squatter.” No one, and who would say that at all?
The sound of AC / DC is rock solid, terribly tight and one hundred percent concentrated rock ‘n’ roll. Who wouldn’t want a shot of concentrated rock ‘n’ roll? Who can blame them for practically not changing their sound throughout their career? Nobody. Really.
How wonderful it is to hear new single “Shot In The Dark”. It opens with the typical guitar sounds of Angus Young and shortly after, Johnson joins in with his raspy voice.
How well the simple AC / DC formula works.
When we are presented with a wonderful guitar solo, after two minutes, we are sold. According to the band themselves, inspiration was drawn from riffs that Malcolm Young wrote and as such he is present on the album again. May we also mention that the 70+ rockers sound imperturbable, spry and of course tight?
Opener “Realize” also shares the same tight, rock-solid quality. When we get older we can only hope to have the same freshness as the guys from AC / DC, rather than ending up old and worn out like Ozzy Osbourne.
On “Rejection” the gentlemen slow down a bit. Here they clearly opt for grooves. “If you reject me. I’ll take what I want. Disrespect me. And you’ll get burnt, are some of the one-liners from the song. With a beer in hand, we can already see ourselves roaring along on the meadow of a solid rock festival.
Also “Kick You When You’re Down” has the same ‘beer and roar’ vibe.
Closing track “Code Red” is another song that takes on a slower tempo. The relaxed drum is accompanied by a haunted guitar while Brian Johnson seems to be setting us up for what follows. After one minute we find out why. “Code Red” is the track with the greatest sing-along value on the album.
We think the uptempo “Demon Fire” is a nice surprise. Phil Rudd drums at a very tight tempo while we get a haunted riff. Brian Johnson, meanwhile, does what he does best: guide us through the song with shouts and amazing vocals. The backing vocals are also very welcome. What completes the song for us is the interplay between the lead and rhythm guitar. Angus Young is given the freedom to do whatever he pleases. We hear him fidget and perform slides while Stevie Young keeps rhythmically moving. The bass also rages on like a trusty old steam train.
Finally, we would like to mention “No Mans Land”. It is about the only song that starts with a different sound than the rest of the album, namely that of a sharp guitar. That confuses us for a moment. Fortunately, we soon hear Brian’s voice confirming that we are still listening to AC / DC. “No Mans Land” is, again, super groovy.
It’s simply irresistible. AC / DC still manages to write really good rock songs.
If we’re honest, twelve great rock songs brought by these Australian veterans is probably more than we have earned. But we will take it anyway!
The fact that after seventeen albums they still sound so incredibly solid, without giving any compromise on their sound, demands respect.
Power Up does not push boundaries, but that should not be a surprise. Pushing boundaries is no longer necessary for AC / DC; they have already done that enough.
All we want to say to them is, “We salute you! “