Airbourne - Black Dog Barking

It’s only the completely uninitiated that will get any kind of surprise the first time they listen to Airbourne’s new album, Black Dog Barking.

Whether the title is any reference to the same kind of ‘black dog’ that haunted Winston Churchill is probably a question for another time – but the Warrnambool boys are certainly barking the whole way through the 10-track disc.

Their signature blend of raucous riffs and general hard rock attitude shines through from the opening track and barely lets up for a moment.

'No One Fits Me (Better Than You)' is a classic example of the Airbourne sound and at a touch over three minutes long also fits snugly into the realm of a rock song dressed as pseudo pop.

That’s not to say Airbourne are in the same kind of territory occupied by The Darkness, but there’s just that very slight whiff of contrivance and the kind of non-threatening quality that would see them as candidates for plenty of radio air time.

The AC/DC comparisons that have accompanied the four piece since their debut album in 2007 aren’t going anywhere on this effort – and nor they should.

What would be the problem with a rock band referencing one of the greats, after all?

Probably due to the ‘true to form’ nature of the album, Black Dog Barking feels familiar from the outset – and is eminently listenable.

A couple of the middle tracks kind of slide together into one extended tune, filled to the brim with gutsy vocals, a driving beat and enough guitar solos to keep everybody happy.

'Ready to Rock' and 'Animalize' lead the way – both at the top of the playlist and as two of the album highlights.

The title track is another up-tempo belter, the Airbourne boys signing off on Black Dog Barking in the same vein they commenced.

Classic or not, this is another solid offering from Airbourne that sees them flying the flag as custodians of that part of the Australian music vault titled ‘Hard Rock’.

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