Numero cinco from the Aussie based AIRBOURNE, Boneshaker is out now on Spinefarm Records. It’s been three years since one of my favorite albums of 2016 (Breakin’ Outta Hell) came out. That was one bad ass, rock n’ roll record. These guys have been making waves since 2003 and practically every true rock and roller knows their name. These \m/etal \m/aniac rock n’ rollers are Joel and Ryan O’Keeffe, Matthew Harrison and Justin Street. Joining up with producer Dave Cobb, they got together in Nashville at the infamous RCA Studio A to gather up the testosterone and lay this one down.
Heading off the album is the title track “Boneshaker”. From the opening it was ringing a bell from my haunted past. Presenting only music at the opening, as I’m studying it, I was expecting to hear lyrics begin with “Idle juvenile on the street, on the street, Who is kicking everything with his feet, with his feet”. These of course are the lyrics from AC/DC’S “Shake a Leg”. Golly gee willikers guys, I’m not sure what to say when my first expectations were to hear Brian Johnson belting out some vocals! The remainder of the tune is strictly badass AIRBOURNE, but I felt this was an odd way to begin. I would have stuck this somewhere in the middle.
To me, really igniting the album, “Burnout the Nitro” is old school, raw rock n’ roll perhaps with a twang of country (?). I would have rather seen this be the opener. “This Is Our City” takes a walk down memory lane to their former stomping ground of Melbourne. If folks don’t know, Melbourne is the town where the fellows’ roots go back to and literally almost burning down a house in the making. Then, if anyone is looking for a take out order of apple pie, look no further as it’s “Sex To Go”. I bet you can figure out what this one’s about.
In high school, I used to have a 1973 Plymouth Fury (yeah, I’m old). It was as big as a boat with a huge backseat…for storage, yeah that’s what it was for. There were certain times when “Backseat Boogie” might have been a good substitution for my DEEP PURPLE tunes on the 8-track. Yeah, I had an 8-track and don’t give me grief about Machine Head because that was one badass album. “Blood in the Water”, while one of the shortest songs, will bitch slap you with that AC/DC feel. In typical AIRBOURNE style, it’s raw and razor sharp. No messing around bullshit, “She Gives Me Hell” is stripped to the bone. No keyboard, no symphonic harmonies, just down and straightforward rock n’ roll.
Almost as if just played off the cuff, “Switchblade Angel” cuts you to the core with a fast paced, punky feel. Barely a two minute song, it left my heart pounding at 120 bpm and wanting more. Is there just something sexy about a badass chick with a knife? Am I messed up or what?. How bad will war mess up an individual? I can only guess as I never served, but “Weapon of War” reminds us of how screwed up the situation is. The tune leaves that lump in your throat as it likely should. Finishing up the album is “Rock ‘N” Roll For Life,” another down and dirty old school face pounding; this one will leave you salivating for more.
Boneshaker is a good effort. Most songs seemed more improviso than Breakin’ Outta Hell and that is a mix of feelings for me. When bands first start out, they demonstrate that raw idea of their music. Boneshaker brings that rudimentary feel with a mix of refinement that is apparent over time. Usually, this late in a band’s course, many seem to have lost that initial raw feel. When I think of DEF LEPPARD, by their fourth album, I was done with them. They had lost that raw ass-kicking that made me buy their albums. AIRBOURNE takes a trip back to their roots and throws them back in our faces, dirt and all. I think this is a good move. Salude’
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Burnout the Nitro”, “Blood In the Water”, “Switchblade Angel”, “Rock ‘N’ Roll For Life”
-MARK “\M/ETAL \M/ESSIAH” EHRLICH