Okay the history of the world and evolution and stuff like that, so far; with apologies to all Christian fundamentalist creationists*. To simplify all these concepts and to boost the understandablenessosity for you all, I’m not going to give the exact dates, just the sequence.
- First there was a big bang and then there was a world, where there hadn’t been one before. N.B – Wales hadn’t been invented yet.
- Some fishies evolved from the protoplasmic gloop.
- Fishies got legs and stuff.
- They all turned into an awesome T-Rex and those difficult-to-spell avian dinosaurs. Some ate plants and others ate meat, raw.
- Cave men got born, probably from apes and shit, somehow. They go about on all fours until some cave chick invents the loincloth and then they can stand up without their junk flapping in the wind.
- Uriah Heep are founded by David Byron, they play instruments carved from stegosaurus bones until the early 1590’s.
- Cave men beat up all the dinosaurs and become rulers of the planet, before evolving into Neanderthals and (sniggers) Homo Erectus. Wales evolves from the shapeless land masses of Europa.
- Loads of empires, then Christ and then knights in armour happen.
- Indoor toilets invented. Cowboys and then some Chinese people invent maths. Oh, and fireworks.
- Wars. E=MC2.
- Bill Gates invents Windows XP. Wales gets indoor toilets for first time.
- 1537 starts on 18 November 2012.
That’s it, they are all the socio-cultural-evolutionary signposts you need. I have a history degree and have watched, like, loads of documentaries, I know stuff. Now why is any of this relevant to my ongoing quest to bring truth, justice and honour back into the world, whilst writing smart-ass things about LPs no-one else bought** and trying to photograph irritatingly shiny things under artificial light?
Well I was looking to understand the effect that Airbourne Runnin’ Wild, a wild two-fisted, macho, beer drinkin’, womanisin’, I’m-not-doing-the-ironin’ blast of an LP from 2007, has on me. From the second I heard the first 10 seconds of ‘Stand Up For Rock ‘n’ Roll’ on a Classic Rock cover disc, I was totally and utterly hooked. Sometimes you need to understand where you’ve been, to know where you’re going*^, people. Basically Airbourne play the kind of bare-chested, small town, are-you-looking-at-me?, whiskey-drenched, I-shagged-your-girlfriend-in-the-back-of-the-van, hard rock that I have never been able to resist. When this type of music is done this well it just connects with me on what must be a limbic level, dialling into the callow 13 year-old locked inside the urbane 43 year-old you all know and adore.
My theory for what it is worth is that at sometime between stages 5 and 7 above, the hard rock receptor gene (HRRG, as top scientists named it) evolved, or regressed even and has been a random genetic determinant ever since. Some of us are simply born with no resistance to simple, tough Australian rock at all, the flip side being that prolonged exposure to it can induce feelings of extreme euphoria, along with side effects including, but not limited to, delusions of sexual adequacy, compulsion to air guitar for up to 30 minutes on end and a terrible thirst.
You know the score here, this is basic hard rock boogie that sounds like it has been honed over nights and nights of trial and error in the roughest bars in all the roughest Aussie mining communities. Runnin’ Wild is a hymn to the joys of irresponsible drinking, rocking like demons and sweaty encounters with the opposite sex. Women are alternately sex goddesses, heartbreakers, angels and devils – basically your average entirely inexperienced 13 year-old wannabe womaniser’s view, this offends the feminist in me not a single jot; it’s stupid and terminally adolescent, pitiable and really not very serious. Besides I’m an adult now, to paraphrase TPOH, who wants to listen to songs about proper relationships? well, maybe occasionally, for now I’d rather you just bang out another ditty called ‘Cheap Wine And Cheaper Women’.
Unlike a certain other hard rock band from the land down under, Airbourne’s sound is based solely on the ensemble, damn good though David Roads and Joel O’Keefe are at wielding their axes they are no virtuosos, all solos are short and to the point. That point being the overall sound and the song. Airbourne just go for it with so much snap and energy you can’t help but me carried along by them, even through the odd track that’s maybe not quite up to scratch. It’s this relentless energy and enthusiasm that puts Runnin’ Wild up there easily as the best new hard rock LP I’ve heard in oooh (picks arbitrary figure) 10 years. Without that other band Airbourne would not exist but this is no copycat exercise, they’re invoked here as role models and elders of the tribe but not slavishly mimicked.
Come on! Runnin’ Wild is an album that begins,
Alright people welcome to the show
Are you ready to rock, are you ready to go
Yeah we’ve got what you want and we’ve got what you need
So get your arse down here n’ let your ears bleed
C’mon drink your beer and drink your wine
Let’s have a goodtime
That’s pretty much all you need to know, that the track is called ‘Stand Up For Rock ‘n’ Roll’ just makes it even better. Every track on this LP is great, but as always some animals are more equal than others, my picks are:
- Runnin’ Wild: Fast, mean, made me punch the air on a station platform this morning. ‘I got the wind at my back and my foot to the floor / I ain’t comin’ back to you no more’^
- Diamond In The Rough: Rude, rude, rude. A stand-out chorus on an album of stand-out choruses. It’s pretty rude too.
- Heartbreaker: She’s no good you know!
- Stand Up For Rock ‘n’ Roll: Has the best intro of any song on the album. Some bands make 10 LPs over a 20 year span and don’t come up with an intro this good, not even once.
I know I’m a HRRG sad sack who should really have moved on to more grown-up concerns by now, but Runnin’ Wild really hits the spot for me time after time and is still on high rotation at 1537 Towers. This is wonderful, escapist, life-affirming music and I’ll take the profane over the profound tonight.
PS – as you might expect they are freaking great live too. As I said about Matt Pike recently, you gotta love a guitarist who starts the show bare-chested – that’s a proper statement of intent.
*I am sincerely sorry for you, evolution is so, like, a thing.
**very often for an exceedingly good reason.
*^and by extension what you’ll be drinking when you’ll get there and who’s sister you’ll make a wholly regrettable drunken pass at.
^is there a ‘g’ shortage in Australia?