by John Kindred
The ’07 debut album Runnin’ Wild put the world on notice that Australia’s next export would carry on in the grand tradition of AC/DC. Armed with beer-soaked anthems for the common man, such as “Stand Up For Rock ‘N’ Roll” and “Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast,” Airbourne took their traveling circus on the road. They brought their message to the people, fulfilling the need of hard rock fans longing for the return of bone-crushing-blues-rock anthems drenched in attitude, sex, drinking and the much lauded rock ‘n’ roll.
Airbourne’s aerial assault strikes again with their sophomore release No Guts No Glory. Brothers Joel and Ryan O’Keeffe, along with David Roads and Justin Street continue their musical expedition. Making the studio their home, the band took up residence in Chicago with producer Johnny K. Sleeping on the floor behind amps or the drum kit, Airborne shrugged off luxury in order to deliver a hard-edged follow-up album that reflects the attitudes of the band as well as their fans.
These Aussie’s are beer-drinkin’ blokes who aren’t preaching religion or harping on politics. Leave that shit to U2. The music is rudimentary 4/4 rock n’ roll built on the back of Marshall, Gibson, Fender and Tama, all respected tools of the trade. You may say that anyone can play this style of rock, but those that lack attitude, energy, determination and grit find themselves playing alone in their garage or basement, just dreaming.
Following up the debut album Runnin’ Wild is no easy feat. Kicking off the No Guts No Glory with “Born to Kill,” Airbourne makes the statement straight away that this is the same gritty in-your-face production, much like that first album. The band makes no pretenses about their influences. So to hell with making comparisons; what counts here is whether the band can write great songs and play their instruments. “Born to Kill” hooks you in the mouth, reeling you in with a jerk of the line. Once the song “No Way But The Hard Way” hits, the band has reeled you in. This is the first single release and features a fist-pumping chorus, which will have crowds singing along. The lyrics are a poignant reflection of life that everyone can relate to.
The energy is constant: Songs like “Raise the Flag” and “Bottom of the Well,” amplify the band’s “no-shit” attitude, while “Steel Town” was written to those living in cities built around the steel manufacturing industry. The band was inspired by the energy of the crowds who drink more, fight harder and party to extremes.
In effort to get a live, raw sound on No Guts No Glory, the producer took the band back in time by recording to analog tape. The music recorded by the individual instruments was allowed to bleed across other tracks on each song, helping to grab the live feel of the band. This is evident throughout the album, as the music feels charged with energy.
Ultimately, when comparing No Guts No Glory to the band’s debut album, you won’t be wowed by growth or shifts into uncharted territories. Musically, Airbourne isn’t a band out to reinvent itself with each new release. They follow a similar make-up akin to AC/DC. You know what you are gonna get, and as long as the music rocks and it strikes a chord with each individual person, then the music will be enjoyed and coveted by fans.
Airborne is a far from the boroughs of their hometown of Warrnambool in Victoria, Australia. They maintain a blue-collar attitude that welcomes all walks of life to their rock ‘n’ roll show. Enjoy.
Joel O’Keeffe- Vocals/Lead Guitar
Ryan O’Keeffe- Drums
David Roads- Guitar
Justin Street- Bass
1. Born to Kill
2. No Way But the Hard Way
3. Blonde, Bad and Beautiful
4. Raise the Flag
5. Bottom of the Well
6. White Line Fever
7. It Ain’t Over Till it’s Over
8. Steel Town
9. Chewin’ the Fat
10. Get Busy Livin’
11. Armed and Dangerous
13. Back on the Bottle
Hardrock Haven rating: 8/10