Along with Fly On The Wall
, Flick Of The Switch
is probably the most maligned AC/DC album. However, for those people who speak ill of this album, I have some startling news: it�s good
is my third favorite AC/DC album, right after Highway To Hell
and The Razor�s Edge
. Yes, I do
like it better than Back In Black
, and that�s because it�s a more consistent album.
On Flick Of The Switch
, AC/DC aimed for a return to their roots, i.e. to the time when they played small clubs and weren�t famous at all. Of course, for the biggest touring rock outfit of 1983, this was a difficult task to accomplish, and it wasn�t fully achieved. Still, the group deserve merit for the effort, especially since this album follows up the incredibly mediocre For Those About To Rock�We Salute you
, released two years previously.
The first thing hardened AC/DC listeners will notice is that Angus� and Malcolm�s riffs have regained their crunch. While on FTATRWSY
the pair had gone for far more melodic approaches, on this one they just let it rip, causing the listener to unrepentantly tap his or her foot on the floor while keeping up with the song. Additionally, Phil Rudd�s strong drums add to the catchy factor, making a few of these songs clear 80�s-period AC/DC standouts.
One factor, however, is mind-boggling: Angus� solos are incredibly average (except for the one on Rising Power
, of course). In many of these songs, it�s Malcolm�s rhythm guitar that truly shines, keeping strong backbeat riffs that often overpower his younger brother�s soloing. Such is the case on Nervous Shakedown
, for example, or Guns for Hire
Another interesting factor is that this was the first time the Young brothers took production in their own hands. However, rather than the drenched-out sound of Fly On The Wall
or Blow Up Your Video
, the production here is quite decent. Brian�s voice is a bit muffled, and the bass is criminally chopped (not that it was ever that
important, anyway), but the guitars and drums more than make up for it, sounding absolutely bombastic.
Unfortunately, not all is good on this album. The first six or seven songs are great, but then the album starts to steadily decrease quality. The last three tracks, Bedlam In Belgium
and Brain Shake
are each worse than the previous one, with the latter rating as the low point of the album.. however, by this stage, the album is too far forward for this to matter; we have enjoyed the previous songs so much that we just good-naturedly endure or skip the aforementioned three tracks.
Another low point on this album are Brian�s lyrics. Everybody know AC/DC�s current singer isn�t a patch on Bon Scott, as far as lyrics are concerned. Where the latter wrote socially conscious little stories, with the occasional sex lyric thrown in, the former writes sex lyrics with the occasional socially conscious little story thrown in. Here, most of his lyrics are about hanky-panky, and not always that
subtle � c�mon, Guns For Hire
? You don�t exactly have to be a rocket scientist.
Still, however flawed, this is still a pretty decent little album from AC/DC, especially if we put it in its proper time frame and consider what came immediately before and immediately after this. Sure, it isn�t a patch on Highway to Hell
or, arguably, Back In Black
, but AC/DC fans should give it a go. It�s a very enjoyable listen.
NOTE: Those of you who know my reviews will state that I�m totally biased towards AC/DC. Well you�re right. I am. But I try not to let that get in the way when I�m writing a review. So there: rest assured I am not being biased here.
This House Is On Fire
Guns For Hire