Here’s the deal with Airbourne. They are often maligned in their native Australia for sounding too much like their countrymen AC/DC, and considered little more than a novelty act. The problem is, they can actually play, and play well. Their live show, which I have yet to experience, is said to be blistering. Are they extremely derivative? Absolutely! But you know what? I’m ok with that.
Black Dog Barking is the group’s third album, and while the subject matter is much the same (hard-drinking, hard-rocking, and sex), there is an improvement in the overall sound without sacrificing the rawness that makes Airbourne who they are.
“Ready To Rock” opens the album with some arena-ready cries of “Whoa oh oh oh whoa oh” before starting the high-tempo assault, complete with AC/DC-style riffs. “Animalize” and “No One Fits Me (Better Than You)” pretty much speak for themselves, complete with tongue-in-cheek lyrics about easy women.
“Back In the Game” is slower and meatier, and is a high point of the record, before “Firepower” comes along and quickly devolves into something tiresome. Another misstep is “Woman Like That” featuring the eloquent line” A mouth full of garter is just the starter”. Oy vey.
First single “Live It Up” SCREAMS vintage AC/DC again, with a dash of High N’Dry-era Def Leppard, and if you’re not tapping your feet along to this one, something’s wrong with you. After that, we get “Hungry”. Definitely one of the best songs on this short, energetic collection, it’s fast, loud, and in-your-face. Love it!
“Cradle To the Grave” is another slow starter that stomps into a mid-tempo groove with a half-step chorus before title track “Black Dog Barking” comes at you like a roving gang of thugs hell bent on your conversion to the cause.
Comparisons to AC/DC and early Def Leppard be damned, this is a fun, rockin’ album, and Airbourne should be celebrated for not trying to reinvent the wheel, and I for one, will hoist many beers to this one on a Friday night!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Ready To Rock”, “Back In the Game”, “Live It Up”, “Hungry”, “Black Dog Barking”