To many reviewers and the general public AC/DC’s popularity bubble had certainly burst by 1983 and the ‘’back to basics’’ approach of ‘’Flick Of The Switch’’ was the end of a creative periods lasting some five years.
Firstly out was John ‘’Mutt’’ Lange, out where the cannons and out was the Hells Bell. The phenomenal world wide success the band gained from 1979’s ‘’Highway To Hell’’ through the heady days of re-birth after ‘’Back In Black’’ to the riding even higher success of ‘’For Those About To Rock’’ where but a passing memory as ‘’Flick Of The Switch’’ was unveiled to a world, hungry for new Antipodean Rock.
‘’Flick Of The Switch’’ was also the first album that the band produced themselves and was also the last album the Young, Young, Johnson, Williams and Rudd group would record until meeting up again to record 1995’s ‘’Ballbreaker’’ album.
Poorly received, ‘’Flick Of The Switch’’ didn’t achieve platinum status Stateside until 2001, many AC/DC fans wanted more of the same big theatricals, big production and a return to the massive live spectacular of the 1980 to 1982 period all they got was a simple Hard Rock album (what else did they expect?) and a strictly dressed down live show.
‘’Flick Of The Switch’’ is perhaps AC/DC’s most underrated commitment to vinyl and easily stands up against the heavy weights previously mentioned. OK the production isn’t as slick as ‘’Back In Black’’ or as polished as ‘’For Those About To Rock’’ but nonetheless tracks as ‘’Rising Power’’, ‘’Flick Of The Switch’’, ‘’Guns For Hire’’ and the colossal ‘’Nervous Shakedown’’ are prime time ‘DC boogie. Johnson’s rasps his way across each track peppering the titanic riffing of Messrs Young and Young with a strained, dirty vocal attack that is a strong as ever. And the songs keep coming. ‘’Deep In The Hole’’ and ‘’Bedlam In Belgium’’ and the sleazy, laid back sweep of ‘’Badlands’’ are all nods to the Bon Scott days and without a shadow of a doubt Bon would have been delighted to have sung them.
Angus’s solos are still as breathtaking as is the consistent rhythm play of Malcolm and backed up with the tightest rhythm section on the planet Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd.
If you’ve forgotten just how Rock steady ‘’Flick Of The Switch’’ is then you’ve left a rough diamond sitting on the CD shelf. It’s the perfect album to put on in the car what with summer not that far around the corner and to let the world know that AC/DC Rock N Roll ain’t noise pollution. (Online April 12, 2004)