God bless AC/DC. The Australian band has been preaching the good word of rock and roll for more than 25 years now and hasn't changed a thing (well, except for lead singers, when Bon Scott died two decades ago). Hell, the band's new album -- Stiff Upper Lip
, which is something like its 13th studio release -- sounds as if they've made the same damn album once again. The five years since AC/DC's last disc, Ballbreaker
, may have offered open-minded music fans some fresh thrills, but you'd never know anything new went down by listening to the ponderous Stiff Upper Lip
. Sure, it has its charms -- you gotta give Angus Young props for making a career out of recycling the same three guitar chords over and over again -- but there's absolutely nothing new here. Which isn't the point of AC/DC, anyway. It's all about the wink-and-nudge radio hits, the clumsy attempts at blues, the even clumsier pop efforts, and the riff-based pub rockers. Its live shows are even more played out: Expect an exhausting amount of guitar,and screeching-vocal workouts designed to get the fists (presumably grasping either a beer or joint, or both) raised when the boys roll into town. Also, expect plenty of what AC/DC does best -- expertly executed rock and roll crunch for those about to rock. One more time.