REVIEW: PWR UP by AC/DC (Sony)

ALBUM REVIEW by Antony Clay

Pwr Up album cover

AC/DC are reliable. You buy an AC/DC album and you know what you’re going to get – blasting rock music, blistering guitar riffs, gritty vocals, power, power, power.

This new album, which has rather come out of the blue and is something of a surprise given recent traumas for the band, delivers exactly what you want and expect. And there’s something fantastically satisfying in that.

Eleven booming tracks and one a little quieter (though still at 10 on the speakers as opposed to 11 for the rest), Pwr Up shows a band that seems rejuvenated after break-ups, illness, tragedy and scandal have taken their toll. Now they’re back and on top form.

The joy of AC/DC is that they have never attempted to be anything other than a blood and guts rock band out to give a good time to themselves and their audience. No arty pretensions, no politics, no psychedelic waffling – just guitars and drums and the screaming voice box of firstly Bon Scott and then Brian Johnson. With AC/DC it really does say it on the tin.

And ofcourse there is Angus Young playing the guitar like a maniac whilst dressed as a schoolboy. What more could you want?

This album is dedicated to Malcolm Young who tragically died from the effects of dementia a few years ago aged just 64. He and Angus were the backbone of the AC/DC sound and the songs here stem from sessions by the two brothers. Angus went back to the tapes to develop the songs on Pwr Up.

There is a hint of nostalgia in the song Through The Mists of Time but the mainstay topics of enjoying life, battling the odds and “painted ladies” are shamelessly lauded in the rest of the tunes which come at you with the subtlety of a machine gun.

The album kicks off with the powerful Realize and then continues in pretty much the same thumping vein with blistering offerings like Shot in the Dark, Kick You When You’re Down, Wild Reputation and the excellent Witch’s Spell and Demon Fire. It’s a great collection, with quality musicianship all round.

There might not be classics like Highway to Hell or Whole Lotta Rosie on here but the songs on Pwr Up are great offerings in their own right nonetheless.

If you like your rock music unadulterated and uncompromising, Pwr Up is for you. It will appeal to anyone who likes a bit of oomph coming from their speakers – turned up to 11 ofcourse!

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