Airbourne – Boneshaker (2019)


Listening to this album is depressing.  Not because it’s bad – it’s anything but – but because Airbourne should be massive in Australia, and they are largely ignored by our own “rock radio” stations.

On their fifth full length release, Airbourne deliver an energetic brand of rock and roll, the likes of which is all but forgotten in this country.  It’s fast, frantic, loud, and simply put, everything that rock n roll music should be – so this is a call to arms – lets make Airbourne fucking huge.  They deserve it!

Opening with the title track, Boneshaker features riffs straight out of the pub rock hey day, but it doesn’t sound dated.  Joel O’Keefe has a very distinctive voice, that is very well suited to this style of music.  It’s raw and abrasive – no polishing required, it’s perfect as it is.  The gang vocal choruses are tremendous, and really get the fist pumping.  I’m pumped up, even as I sit in my lounge room at 7am…

Continuing the loud and booze soaked vibe is Burnout the Nitro.  Jangly guitar riffs fire up the track, and again, we’re treated to foot stomping, fist pumping gang vocals in our chorus.  Airbourne really have a knack for capturing the energy of their live shows on their albums, and Boneshaker is no exception so far.

This is Our City has a swagger to it that is perfect, and pretty uncommon these days.  This is rock n roll at its most basic, but this is all it needs to be.  Why over complicate things, when this works very well.

Sex to Go is dripping with sleaze, and features some pretty silly lyrics, making it my least favourite track, while Backseat Boogie features some fantastic guitar licks, and definitely has a boogie style to it.  I think the title gives away the subject matter…

Blood in the Water starts off with Joel O’Keefe sounding like Alice Cooper (Airbourne will join Cooper on his Australian tour next year) for a bit of a dark and sinister sounding vocal.  The musical backdrop is just as you’d expect – pounding rhythms, rumbling bass and exceptional riffs.  This is an album highlight.

Neither She Gives Me Hell nor Switchblade Angel bring anything new to the Airbourne sound, but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, and I said earlier, this band know their strengths and play to them – and they do it well.  Motörhead never deviated too far from their signature sound, and Airbourne don’t need to either.  It’s good solid hard rock.

Weapon of War slows the pace significantly to begin with, but eventually picks up the pace and becomes another foot stomper.  I actually can’t wait to hear some of these songs live in concert – I think the energy captured here, will come across tenfold on stage.

Closing out the album is Rock ‘n’ Roll For Life.  This is what Airbourne is all about – it’s an anthem, and you know that lyrics like “we stand as one, never say die, it’s rock n roll for life” or “don’t matter where you were born, or what country you came from, they’ll never divide us, rock n Roll is our culture” are straight from the heart, and as real as it gets for this band.

R.N.R.F.L indeed!


Shayne McGowan.

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