Wednesday, April 17, 2002 @ 9:24 AM
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Even the most diehard AC/DC fans have to admit that, while the Aussie legends have never really made a bad album per say, they haven’t really made a great album since the ‘80s. Whether you cite For Those About To Rock, Fly On The Wall, Flick of the Switch (a personal fave of mine though most fans slag it) as the drop-off point, you certainly have to admit that their last four or five affairs weren’t exactly revolutionary. Well, it just so happens AC/DC don’t really have to make a great album anymore because Austin’s Broken Teeth are making them for ‘em. Yes, believe it or not, Broken Teeth do AC/DC better than AC/DC themselves these days. Case in point, the title track. With its “Oy” chorus chants and dirty guitar grind this tune could pass for a vintage Bon Scott-era leftover to even the most ear-savvy listener (unlike that lame-ass fake demo of “Back In Black” with Bon Scott on vocals that’s floating around Audio Galaxy and the Internet, DO NOT BE FOOLED). They ain’t original, they don’t claim to be, they just get it. They’ll be the first ones to admit that all of their original material might as well be cover tunes ‘cause they sound soooo much like the thunder from down under, but that’s why it’s all so great, BECAUSE they just do it right.
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The band is comprised of heavy metal vets that grew up on ‘70s hard rock and came up alongside the likes of Guns N’ Roses, Great White and the Crue. Dangerous Toys frontman Jason McMaster -- also of heralded prog/speed metal legends Watchtower -- does Bon Scott like he’s channeling his whiskey fueled spirit right there in the studio. Say whatcha will about his “Teasin’ n’ Pleasin’” days, but this fucker can sing his ass off and writes some high-larious lyrics. Check out the sexy dentist who knocks him out and rapes him during a routine checkup that turns out to be anything routine only to be sexually assaulted by the female lawyer he pleads his case to in “Hangin By The Skin.” He has a knack for detail and the puns are a flyin’. There’s the parade of hookers and street urchins in “Devil Money” or the overflowing Hollywood decadence described in “Crashlanding Affair.” All this is backed by the two-pronged attack of guitarists Paul Lindel and Jard Tuten (Dirty Looks, Pariah), who provide an arsenal of riffs on every tune, sliding from one jagged power chord combination to the next punch with ease and style. I honestly don’t think there’s one minor chord on this entire platter, not one. And damn if Lindel doesn’t blast out bluesy solos like an old pro, like a seasoned vet of decades of arena tours and drunken nights of rock orgies and coke-fueled Bedlam thunder brigades who really just wants to jam along to Albert King records. I’m not saying he is that guy, he just sounds like him. Then there’s the rhythm section, bassist Mike Watson and skinbasher Bruce Rivers. What can I say? Watson never even once plays more than one note at a time and there’s hardly any bass scales, runs or even drum fills, exactly the way it should be for this kind of music. He just locks in with Rivers’ steady beat and keeps it hard and steady…and it works. Malcolm’ll tell ya, keep it simple stupid.
They cover all the bases song-wise too, every riff in the songbook is replayed and played loud. “Down To The Fire” gives ya that ZZ Top blues groove, “Crashlanding Affair” is the blitzkrieg boogie number, “Second Hand” is the obligatory slow blues number with the rap about the chick and the speak-sing vocals, and “High On Danger” is that mid-tempo stomp that makes it way onto every AC/DC record, complete with finger picking guitar intro. “Shangri-La” coasts along quite nicely and gets yer ass shakin’, while “She Dances Evil” and “Devil Money” deliver those patented poppy guitar riffs sandwiched around big ol’ gang-bang chorus that should make even mean ol’ Axl Rose bust a move. The real standout track here is “Chaingang,” an absolutely blistering rocker with a riff you could build a house on and a fist in the air chanting chorus that any stoned out 15 year old kid could crash a car to. It’s quite a potent cocktail to swallow folks, so you better be ready for some heavy duty drinkin’.
Yup, if ya can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. We all know that no one will ever touch or top AC/DC so if you’re gonna even get in the game just be the best version of your heroes you can be. You don’t necessarily have to try to reinvent the wheel, just drive it faster and harder than everyone else on the block. Why be original when you can just ROCK?!?! Guns N’ Roses understood it. Rose Tattoo got it. Buckcherry get it. Hell, Broken Teeth more than get it, they fuckin’ NAIL it.