Black Dog Barking

Written by: EW on 09/07/2013 23:33:56

When one considers a band like Airbourne there are two trains of thought: a) I don't care that they sound like AC/DC - it works for a reason, and it’s great live, or b) why would I bother listening to Airbourne when I could just listen to AC/DC? I will try to review their third album, "Black Dog Barking" somewhere in between the two but I'm sure anyone already familiar with the band will have made up their mind.

Aussies Airbourne are not total AC/DC rip-offs - they are undoubtedly faster and heavier and possess a harder edge but the basic ingredients are the same: bluesy riffs by way of Rose Tattoo sit atop a thudding fist-pumping rhythm section, a strong ultra-masculine lead vocal performance and lyrics singing tales of dirty women, rocking n' rolling and generally living life to the max. It is simple, bloody catchy and purpose built for enjoyment in a sweaty, smelly venue.

"Black Dog Barking" does infact feel a touch faster than "No Guts. No Glory." and "Runnin' Wild" but really Airbourne's glory lies in building songs to a tempo just short of their critical mass before letting the crowd take the lead and do it for them. You can almost hear the crowd interaction that will fall into place half-way through opener "Ready to Rock" as Joel O'Keeffe exhorts his audience to join him nodding and singing along to the track's fire-cracking tempo. It's just as well the song has such a great energy to it as with a closing verse consisting of the following it is hardly pining for the intellect stakes: "Get ready to rock/ Ready to rock. Get ready to rock/ Ready to rock/ Get ready. Get ready to rock/ Ready to rock. Get ready to rock/ Ready to rock are you ready?/ Are you ready to rock?/ I said are you ready to rock?/ I said are you ready to rock?/ Are you ready to rock?/ To rock to rock to rock/ To rock'n rock'n roll!/ Oh get ready to rock c'mon!/ Let me hear you! Get ready to rock/ Ready to rock baby, get ready to rock/ Ready to rock. Ready to rock/ Get ready to rock rock rock. Ready to rock"

Aside from that opener no song tops four-and-a-half minutes, meaning each of the ten tracks in the album proper waste no time in settling into punchy grooves that remain in place throughout. The shout-and-call vocals in "Firepower" to these ears inhabit a touch of glam rubbish like Steel Panther although for the most part the heavy usage of backing vocals - which tend to repeat ad nauseum the song title - give the songs a sense of mild depth, however predictable in their usage, that would be absent even through the intensely energetic performance of O'Keeffe. The finger-tapping and air raid siren introduction to "Live It Up" is a rare moment of calm before exploding into life (no doubt with commendable usage of pyro in mind for the live show); "Woman Like That" and "Hungry" fly by in blazes of excitement while "Cradle to the Grave", at track nine, shows the first instance of actually toning down the tempo for the chorus, and feels pleasantly good for it. By the closure of the title-track you have in 35 minutes exactly what might be expected from a band unafraid to revel in the simple things in life: a non-stop parade of intoxicating songs and a performance pushing the intensity levels in all departments. No prizes for innovation but "Black Dog Barking" has one mean bite to it.


Download: Cradle to the Grave, Ready to Rock, Black Dog Barking
For The Fans Of: AC/DC, Rose Tattoo
Listen: Facebook

Release date: 21.05.2013
Roadrunner Records

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