Review Summary: When affable larrikins cross the line & plunge to deplorable depths.
Everyone has known such a person at one stage or another... A mischievous, frolicsome and boisterous young man whose jocular behaviour and playful antics are strangely affable and usually good-natured. They can be fun to be around at times, while annoying at others. Individuals will treat them differently, some telling them to “f**k off” after two seconds and others putting up with them for close to a lifetime. Such a character (known as a larrikin in Australia) will almost always cross the line however… A certain trigger will mean they transform from boisterous to rowdy, from affable to irksome. On ‘No Guts. No Glory.’, Australian hard-rock quartet Airbourne cross the line.
While formulaic, dated and derivative, the band’s previous LP ‘Runnin’ Wild’ had something strangely likeable about it. Sure, some people despised it, but others felt it was harmless and, more importantly, fun. It resulted in increased exposure and sales, meaning that the band was now playing lavish arenas worldwide, instead of grimy pubs down under. On the surface, one stage is just like any other, but what of the backstage facilities? On the surface, ‘No Guts. No Glory.’ appears to be a retread of ‘Runnin’ Wild’, but the carefree nature and all of that fun has been drained from the band. Not helped by excessively slick production by Johnny K (Disturbed, 3 Doors Down, Plain White T’s), this is a measured and calculated release which is ultimately anything but likeable… Quite the opposite at times.
For those unaware of Airbourne’s musical prowess, it can be described with four letters and a slash; AC/DC. Strongly dependant on riffs, solos and yelping vocals (all provided by Joel O’Keefe), it is a highly derivative sound that ran its race well over two decades ago. It seems that Airbourne believe in the sound however, since they have practically written the same song over and over again. Any track could be randomly chosen from ‘No Guts. No Glory.’ to give a strong indication as to what the rest of the LP sounds like. There are no ballads (the mid-tempo ‘Bottom of The Well’ comes closest), practically no experimentation and very little variety. Choosing highlights is a tough task, although the high-octane, bass-driven ‘Raise The Flag’ and rousing climax to ‘Armed and Dangerous’ are worth mentioning.
Using neanderthalic rhymes that MC Hammer would be proud of, the lyrics are in your face and exclusively concern rock ‘n’ roll, girls, drinking and partying. Of course, there are occasional moments where the cheeky lads are a little subtler (as a sledgehammer), such as “Chewin’ the fat baby, you know where it’s at”. The repetitive choruses never leave song titles in doubt and are memorable for all the wrong reasons. Rarely catchy, there are no moments such as “You’ve been… Thunderstruck” and nothing as recitable as “It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll”. Is it really that difficult to write a chorus that consists of more than two lines? In fact, you could fashion a ‘Guess the next line Drinking Game’ out of most songs: (1) “Get Busy Livin’ or …..” (2) “It Ain’t Over ‘Till …..”. No beer for a year if you got either of those two wrong!
“BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE… If you order now, we’ll throw in five bonus tracks and a bottle opener”. Bonus tracks are usually a neutral proposition since they are indeed nothing but a bonus. However, in the case of ‘No Guts. No Glory’, these five tracks totalling less than fourteen minutes are indeed a negative. Three of them are more of the same and simply prolong the pain, while the other two plunge to ludicrous depths that even this band should be above. If the title of ‘My Dynamite Will Blow You Sky High (And Get Ya Moanin’ After Midnight)’ does not tell you enough, something about “cleaning the dregs running down your legs” should. Meanwhile, the deplorable ‘Kickin’ It Old School’ could be worse, coming off as Vanilla Ice meets Nickelback! It truly is a dreadful ending to an already poor record. If you happen to be in the mood for some hard-rock, ignore this macho posturing and get out your copy of ‘Back In Black’ or ‘Pyromania’ instead.
Recommended Tracks: Raise The Flag & Armed and Dangerous.