1975, Music

High Voltage (1975) by AC/DC

Sometimes debut albums show a fully formed band and listening to them its easy to imagine the band going on to be very successful. (That’s especially easy with the benefit of hindsight, of course.) But sometimes debut albums are more confusing, even or especially with hindsight. And such is the case with AC/DC’s true debut, only released in Australia. As I write this I am wondering why the hell I even bothered listening to it, but I guess I was a little bit fascinated.

This album is 7 originals but it leads off with a (very good) cover. Much of the format which would make AC/DC great is already in place, though the songs are not up to later standards in terms of catchiness. But I guess the thing that fascinates me is why this band – this mostly bare-bones blues rock band – of all bands became an institution. Listening to this record – which wasn’t even deemed good enough to be the international debut a year and a bit later – it’s hard to imagine that they would go on to essentially conquer the world, even though I know that’s what happens.

The musicianship is pretty impeccable – even at this early stage the band rocks and Angus’ patented leads and solos are already here. The band also makes a pretty damn good use of breaks, which is impressive for such a young band. What’s also impressive is the lack of overdubs, and maybe that’s one of the things that caught on – everybody else on the planet was using overdubs and these guys maybe use them on a track are too.

Scott’s lyrics are (nearly) all about sex as you would imagine. And they have not dated particularly well, as basically no AC/DC lyrics have by either Scott or Johnson. But the nakedness of them combined his lecherous delivery likely added to the appeal.

Still, it’s really weird listening to this in the context of early 1975 and thinking “These guys would go on to be so iconic that everyone would know who they were, even if they had never actually heard a song.” I’m not sure we get that here even if the record is gloriously out of step with the times.

6/10 I guess

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