AC/DC - High Voltage review
|Release date:||May 1976|
01. It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)
02. Rock 'N Roll Singer
03. The Jack
04. Live Wire
06. Can I Sit Next To You Girl
07. Little Lover
08. She's Got Balls
09. High Voltage
If it's true that all AC/DC albums sound the same - which it isn't, anyone who thinks that Blow Up Your Video and Highway To Hell sound alike is probably tone deaf - then High Voltage, their 1976 international debut, must be what they all sound like. This is the record that set the standard for countless 'DC classics released in the last 35 years, as well as numerous (usually rubbish - Airbourne anyone?) copycat attempts. What this album proves is that no matter how many times they've copied their own formula over the years, when Angus Young and Co. got it right, they were undisputed masters of the hard rock art.
Everything about High Voltage is pure rock 'n' roll, from the infectious groove of long time Metallica intro tape "It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)" to the foot-stomping build up of "Live Wire." There are even a few unexpected twists and turns along the way, including bagpipes (take that, Korn!) on "It's A Long Way To The Top" and some gloriously cheesy gang vocals on "T.N.T." The standard of writing is consistently strong throughout, with only "Little Lover" missing the highs set by the rest of the album. However, where High Voltage really, ahem, "does the business," is when the sleaze factor is ramped up to 11…
Singer Bon Scott's lyrics are absolutely stuffed full of innuendo. The hilarious "She's Got Balls" needs no explanation, but on album standout "The Jack," he turns what seems to be an innocent game of cards into a sober warning about the dangers of playing with girls who have been "shuffled before." Scott's drawling delivery is so dirty, you almost feel like you could contract something nasty just from listening! The production adds to the unashamedly seedy tone of the record, with the Young brothers' bluesy guitar tone having the spontaneous, live feel of a sweaty club. And while the bass and drums don't do anything particularly exciting - this is AC/DC after all - they are punchy and hold the groove together well.
In short, as the title track boldly states, this record is a solid gold slice of "high voltage rock 'n' roll." So, if you like to listen to music to have fun, then High Voltage is a must have classic. In fact, if you can't enjoy this album even a little bit, then you've probably had your sense of humour surgically removed somewhere along the line!
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