Airbourne – ‘Boneshaker’

By Louis Kerry

Putting their cans of beer down for 30 minutes, the mighty Australian powerhouses Airbourne have returned and turned back the clocks with their new album ‘Boneshaker’.

Airbourne always do exactly as they say, and the album title does not lie – ‘Boneshaker’ rattles you to your core straight from the start. ‘Burnout The Nitro’ hits off everything that defines the hard rockers; gang vocal choruses with an effortless classic rock vibe, world-class duelling guitar licks, and an excessive energy that is built for an 80s movie street race.

With an air of nostalgia, ‘Backseat Boogie’ has an old school groove that they pull off like they’re ZZ Top themselves. There’s no messing about with ‘Give Me Hell’. The track is vintage Airbourne, showing off their effortless chemistry and just how well new rhythm guitarist Matt Harrison fits in alongside front man Joel O’Keeffe’s unpredictable guitar solos.

The singer shines best on ‘Blood in the Water’. Full of personality and conviction, his amped up vocals and ridiculous lyrics create the highlight of the album, and it’s easy to envision the high-octane energy when they bust out this track in their live show with that quintessential guitar tone to match.

Having chosen a somewhat unconventional producer in Dave Cobb – more renowned for his work with country stars such as Chris Stapleton and Zac Brown – this doesn’t stop from the band from being their rough and ready selves. Although not heading into a Nashville direction, as the choice of producer might suggest, the band do still step into new territory, albeit closer to home. ‘Sex To Go’ has a huge 70s blues influence with Australian accents, and a chorus you wouldn’t want to be caught singing along to by your mum.

There are still snippets where the band fall into well worn ground. Tracks like ‘This is the City’ offer nothing new to their repertoire, with a weak chorus, tired ‘whoa’ section, and a solo you’ve heard before.

Not one day goes by where Airbourne aren’t compared to AC/DC. ‘Boneshaker’ won’t wash those similarities off either. The three chord riffs are there, that Brian Johnson swagger, and every rock and roll cliche still rears its head – but after five albums of fist-pumping music that is more inspired, more thought provoking, and offers more integrity than the school uniform wearing veterans, Airbourne have earned themselves the position of being the band you wish AC/DC sounded like today.

There are always times when you need to let your hair down and rock out uncontrollably – Airbourne remain the perfect choice for those moments. Do not sleep on ‘Boneshaker’.

LOUIS KERRY

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