AC/DC may well have had their day with world conquering albums and lets be honest since ‘’Back In Black’’ the band haven’t come anywhere near repeating the success of that milestone but 2000’s ‘’Stiff Upper Lip’’ was a mighty comeback for a band now heading into their fourth decade of performing.
Most AC/DC albums since 1980 have contained a fair amount of filler but ‘’Stiff Upper Lip’’ bucks this trend giving the most fluid and listenable AC/DC record in years. The strength of the title track – the opening riff being one of the bands best in years and years, ‘’Safe In New York City’’ ‘’Melt Down’’ and ‘’Satellite Blues’’ ‘’Can’t Stand Still’’ and ‘’Damned’’ still manage to raise the hairs on the back of the neck as the band did all those years ago on ‘’Highway To Hell’’ ‘’The Jack’’ etc etc.
Production wise the band re-called older Young brother, George to handle beefing up the sound adding flesh to the skeletal body in every department. As a result the group sound fresh, vibrant and Rockin’! Phil Rudd’s drums are like repeated kicks in the head, the back line of Cliff Williams bass and Malcolm Young’s guitar create, as always, an extraordinary simplistic and relentless rhythm attack that is one of the best in the business. As usual Angus bops, dives, spins and tumbles from solo to riff to solo with little break in between and Brian ‘Jono’ Johnson delivers another very fine rasping growling vocal to a band who are fused tighter than Lars Ulrich to his bank balance.
There is much to offer on ‘’Stiff Upper Lip’’ least of all the much admired and inimitable AC/DC boogie sound that has changed little since the early 70’s and although the remain stoically in their own world AC/DC have carved out monumental success on the back of one thing: the accessibility of their music relying on the basics – guitars, vocals and drums – it’s all they need to provide a Rockin’ good time for all. (Online November 29, 2005)