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Black Dog Barking


Artist: Airbourne
Label: Roadrunner Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 20 May 2013

Airbourne is a traditional rock back from Australia. The band members are Joel O’Keeffe (vocals/guitar), Ryan O’Keeffe (drums), David Roads (guitar), and Justin Street (bass). Formed in Victoria in 2003, they have released two previous studio albums, Runnin’ Wild (2007) and No Guts, No Glory (2010). Black Dog Barking is their latest outing. It is released by Roadrunner Records and consists of ten tracks in the standard edition, and a second disc of live tracks on the special edition:

01. Ready to Rock
02. Animalize
03. No One Fits Me (Better Than You)
04. Back in the Game
05. Firepower
06. Live it Up
07. Woman Like That
08. Hungry
09. Cradle to the Grave
10. Black Dog Barking

For anyone who doesn’t already know, Airbourne is like an AC/DC tribute band, except the material is original. The affinity to their world-wide famous country cousins is immediately apparent. Aside from having two brothers in the band, the styling is very similar – only (let’s be honest) not as good. Why listen to the wannabe wallabies when you have the originals. This is probably why, although I’ve been aware of this band, I haven’t really given them much attention. I used to enjoy AC/DC a great deal some years back, and still like to hear their riff-based music, but I was more an advocate of the earlier Bon Scott blues-rock based era. Airbourne is closer to the Brian Johnson stuff.

I’ve heard some tracks from Airbourne’s debut album, Runnin’ Wild, and I have to say it’s a lot more enjoyable than Black Dog Barking. They’re more varied and seem more gritty. I find this one to be very samey. These chorus-chants and stories of bad boys having a good time seems somewhat west coast (America, that is), and the lack of variety in style leaves you feeling that it’s just lacklustre.

I am aware of the almost universal rave reviews and accolades this album has received; everything is subjective, after all. However, after decades of listening to all genres of rock and metal, I find myself increasingly striving for bands in this area which are radically new and different. I remember how I felt when hearing the first albums of Rhapsody, Finntroll and Falconer – these styles hadn’t been heard before. So, you may understand why I found this album mediocre. It’s very spirited and competent, but simply did not excite me. Time will tell whether it’s me or Airbourne who gets shot down in flames.

I do like the idea of the title though; the black dog said to plague dreams of the troubled mind. This Freudian/Jung theme would have made a great concept for the whole album, and perhaps offered it more direction.


Ty Power

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