Color me blown away. "Runnin' Wild" from Australia's AIRBOURNE is the best pure hard rock album I've heard in years. Brothers Joel (vocals/lead guitar) and Ryan O'Keeffe (drums), along with David Roads (guitar) and Justin Street (bass), have written an unequivocally classic rock album with fist-pumping jams galore. When one hears the number of youngsters attempting to be retro cool by incorporating classic rock elements and falling flat on their faces doing so, it is heartening to hear an act like AIRBOURNE do it so well and so right.The musical reference point here is unashamedly AC/DC. Everything from the basic song structures to the guitar tone to the solos to the vocals to the immediately catchy refrains is AC/DC to the bone, and yet it still sounds fresh and not at all like bland mimicry. In other words, this stuff sounds friggin' great! With lyrics about booze, broads, and rock 'n' roll, riffs to die for, and Joel O'Keeffe's swaggering, whiskey choked vocals, "Runnin' Wild" is an album that any self-respecting hard rock fan will want to own and play over and over again. The solos are perfect and recall the days when you not only sang along to the lyrics, but also remembered exactly how each lead was played. People throw out words like "anthem" left and right in some vain attempt to dress up a pig to look like a beauty queen. But songs like "Heartbreaker" with its splendid call-and-response chorus (it sends chills down my spine just writing about it) and the up-tempo call-to-arms that is "Stand Up for Rock 'N' Roll" are true anthems in every sense of the word. I mean, come on, how many albums can you say that every single song is a stunner and actually mean it? What is most amazing about "Runnin' Wild" is how AIRBOURNE is able to take such a simple formula and turn it into an album for the ages when so many other bands completely blow it. It is the spirit of rock 'n' roll that this quartet has harnessed. You don't learn to play music like this; you're born with it. The world needs more bands like AIRBOURNE.
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