City Vibes

 |  December 29, 2008

Artist: AC/DC
Album: Black Ice

AC/DC has been smashing guitars since 1973 and has sold over 200 million records. ‘Black Ice’ arrives eight years after their last release and heralds a reinvigoration of their classic sound and the thumping hedonism of the 1980 classic ‘Back in Black’. The distinctive vocal rasp of front-man Brian Johnson channels a furious energy into the band’s songs and lifts AC/DC’s rock status above their floundering contemporaries. Black Ice contains 15 tracks of unrelenting rock anthems which lick tasty riffs and catchy rhythms over classic rock lyrics guaranteed to please the band’s hardcore fans and any newcomers. Black Ice may lack dynamism and adventure but represents a true homage to a tried and tested formula of break-neck guitars and storming drums.

Artist: The Kaiser Chiefs
Album: Off With Their Heads

In 2005 the Kaiser Chiefs released ‘Employment’, a magnificent, highly original album that rocketed them into stardom. ‘Off With Their Heads’ indicates that the Kaisers only had one album in them. The band’s urgency has transformed into a limp parody of their initial work. The album’s first single, ‘Never Miss a Beat’ is an indication of what will follow, a lacklustre, grating, insidiously bad song that is plump with the righteousness of its own social critique and devoid of any sophistication. ‘Like it Too Much’ is a stiff, hollow, bloodless priapism which could be the nail in the Kaiser’s coffin. ‘Off With Their Heads’ proves the Kaisers are off their own heads.

Artist: Keane
Album: Perfect Symmetry

Over-produced and faultless, Keane’s songs are formulaic, inevitably unexciting and flat, although annoyingly catchy. I can’t tell the difference between Keane and other such acts playing the circuit (check out Snow Patrol and/or Razorlight). As with most of these major bands, you may know most of their songs despite having never bought the album, such is the power of shopping-centre culture on the subconscious. Check out ‘Spiralling’ and ‘You Haven’t Told Me Anything’ for the essence of this pointless release. May it be Keane’s last gasp of predictability.