Friday, August 24, 2012

'77 - High Decibels

High Decibels
Listenable Records

There’s a fine line between paying tribute to a hugely influential act, and blatantly ripping them off. And if there’s a perfect example of a band that lies right on that fine line, it’s Spanish act ’77.
Although elements of the worship of all things Bon Scott era AC/DC could be heard on their debut full-length effort ‘21st Century Rock’ (Which was independently released in 2009, before being re-released by Listenable Records in 2010), it’s nothing compared to what can be heard on their second studio effort ‘High Decibels’. Essentially, ’77 (Who comprise of vocalist/rhythm guitarist Armand Valeta, lead guitarist LG Valeta, bassist Rob ‘Raw’ Janssen and drummer Johnnie Dolphin) have become the ultimate AC/DC clone on their latest release.
The opening title track ‘High Decibels’ gives you a clear idea of what to expect from most of the album. Armand Valeta’s vocals are a spitting image of Bon Scott when he was in his prime, while LG Valeta’s arsenal of riff sounds as close to the early/vintage AC/DC (I’m thinking anywhere from 1975’s ‘High Voltage’ through to 1977’s ‘Let There Be Rock’) as you can get without being the real thing. Nicke ‘Royale’ Andersson (Ex-Entombed/The Hellacopters) should be handed due credit for capturing an authentic sound for the band through his mixing and producing of the album as well.
From here, it’s pretty much all been heard before from AC/DC, only with a slight twist on the familiar classic sound, with tracks such as ‘(Gotta Go) Gotta Hit The Road’, ‘Let’s Beat It Up’, the blues-like swagger of ‘Backdoor Man’, the easy rocking vibe of ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ and the energetic ‘Meltin’ In A Spoon’ standing out as the strongest cuts.
Another track worthy of singling out is the bonus closing track ‘Things You Can’t Talk About’. With additional vocals from Michael Monroe/Backyard Babies/The Hellacopters’ Dregen, Andersson and Imperial State Electric’s Tobias Egge, the song is a real highlight on the album.
Unfortunately, not every track is a winner, with the lengthy eight minute mini-epic ‘Promised Land’ sounding far too ambitious for the band to really pull it off convincingly, and therefore drags. Elsewhere, some of the lyrics come across as too cliché on some of the tracks, which is also disappointing.
Overall, ‘77 is a good band – provided of course that you think all music begins and ends with AC/DC. If however you have a broader taste in music, then perhaps you’ll find ‘High Decibels’ limited in its originality and style.

For more information on ‘77, check out –

© Justin Donnelly

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