The first thing that will strike first time listeners to AC/DC’s 1985 offering ‘’Fly On The Wall’’ is the vocals of Brian Johnson.
Awful. Simply awful. I reckon the guy was sending his vocal lines down the phone from a Middle Eastern country the way they have been produced. Could this possibly be a conspiracy from the Young brothers as this was their first attempts at producing themselves? Maybe they wanted all the attention? Perhaps not but the vocals badly let down this album and let me just add it needs a bit of help and encouragement along the way.
‘’Fly On The Wall’’ is not AC/DC’s best audio moment. Along side ‘’Blow Up Your Video’’ it’s got to be one purely for die hard ‘DC fans collection. It’s quite difficult to gage the quality of this album as some AC/DC fans afford it special attention whilst others seem fit to discard it rather unceremoniously to the garbage pile.
It sounds like the band is trying to gatecrash a US Hard Rock party which you’ll not see many guys in a school uniform appearing at. This is about as far removed as AC/DC have ever got from the straight forward Blues tinged Metal attack. Angus’s guitar shrieks on solos and riffs as does Malcolm’s. The rhythm section, minus Phil Rudd, Simon Wright being his replacement, is competent but doesn’t have that driving force associated with previous albums. Some tracks such as ‘’Danger’’, ‘’Shake Your Foundation’’ and ‘’Sink The Pink’’ struggle to find that ‘DC form and would be good songs if not for the poor production.
The rest of the album plods along defining a band that is at its MTV commercial zenith. ‘’Fly On The Wall’’ has that sold out tag hanging over it. It’s something that is hard to contend with but up against their fantastic recording legacy it’s a major disappointment. (Online April 12, 2004)