High Voltage (Australia)



by PsychicChris USER (480 Reviews)
March 11th, 2023 | 3 replies

Release Date: 1975 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Seventies rock debut weirdness: AC/DC edition

AC/DC might be the last seventies band you would ever expect to have an awkward debut album. The iconic Australians’ simple formula is the sort that seems like it would’ve emerged from the womb fully formed yet 1975’s High Voltage feels out of step compared to what they would soon become. It may not be as drastic an outlier as something like Rocka Rolla or Lonesome Crow, but there might be a reason why its songs have only been released beyond their homeland as parts of piecemeal compilations rather than as a proper whole.

While the band’s “Chuck Berry on steroids” mission statement was established from the get go, they hadn’t quite harnessed the power and personality that would become their signatures. The Young brothers already have a knack for bluntly catchy riffs and energetic trade-offs, but don’t quite have the spark to truly push them forward. Lead singer Bon Scott shows off the first impressions of his impish demeanor though is clearly still mustering the confidence to truly sell it. The lack of a solid rhythm section also doesn’t help with a rotation of bassists and drummers reflecting the unstable commitment.

However, hindsight reveals that this rather unrefined approach allows for songs that never could’ve happened later on. This is perhaps most dramatically demonstrated by “Love Song,” a track whose title is played straight as an arrow with almost proggy fanfare leading to gentle balladry and sweet to the point of saccharine lyrics. It’s uncanny as hell by AC/DC standards but the vibe is not unlike Alice Cooper’s “Desperado.” “Soul Stripper” fares considerably better in comparison; the extended back and forth introduction and funky rhythm are unlike anything else they’ve done but the smooth execution just might make it the strongest track here.

From there, the bulk of the album’s songs are good though often feel like prototypes of formulas that would be done better later on. “Little Lover” and “She’s Got Balls” are the sole holdovers that pop up on the international High Voltage, yet the former’s blues sleaze lacks the conviction of “The Jack” (the Gary Glitter reference doesn’t help either) while the latter’s attempts at silly wit aren’t quite at the stupid-fun level of a “Big Balls.” Elsewhere, the groove on “Stick Around” might be a little too primitive and “Show Business” can feel a bit too stop-start at times. It’s a little concerning that the opening cover of “Baby Please Don’t Go” just might be the album’s most energetic track.

Much like Motörhead or Iron Maiden’s full-length debuts, High Voltage sees AC/DC starting out with an identifiable but not fully realized version of their distinct style. There’s a youthful naïveté at play that’s endearing but the still burgeoning confidence makes them feel more like kids playing dress-up than a group of delinquents poised to conquer the world. It’s interesting to see this side of the band, especially when it results in a couple odd anomalies, but it’s perhaps best reserved for diehard fans. There’s a reason why the international High Voltage is just a reskinned TNT.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
March 12th 2023


Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

hehehe she's got balls

March 12th 2023



March 12th 2023


Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

so do u like writing about music way more than listening to it or is that like 1% of what youve heard

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