AC/DC’s new single ‘a much-needed platter of rock and roll’


On the eve of AC/DC’s last album release in 2014, drummer Phil Rudd said the music was « all about the feel ».

Rudd wasn’t involved in their Rock or Bust tour the following year but now he’s back in the band and laying down a typically tough-as-nails feel on the group’s first new music in six years, a single titled Shot in the Dark.

Featuring lead guitarist and founding member Angus Young, his nephew Stevie Young on rhythm guitar, singer Brian Johnson and bass player Cliff Williams, Shot in the Dark is further proof « you’ll never stop Angus, » as Rudd said in 2014. « AC/DC will go on. »

Angus Young (left) and Brian Johnson on stage together in Melbourne in 2016. Johnson is back in the band for AC/DC’s new album.Credit:Chris Hopkins

Shot in the Dark has the raw, unfiltered rock ‘n’ roll feel AC/DC have made their own over almost five decades. Released around the world today, the song is the first single from the band’s forthcoming album, Power Up.

At just over three minutes long and with Johnson howling: « A shot in the dark beats a walk in the park, » the new track is pure AC/DC, from Rudd’s powerful, percussive swing to Angus laying down a sizzling guitar solo at the two-minute mark.

« Shot in the Dark is a very timely and much-needed platter of rock and roll right now, » said guitarist Ash Naylor of Melbourne trio Even. « This song has been mixed to perfection with the main guitars panned hard left and right, opening up the playing field for Angus’ solo right up the corridor, to adopt AFL parlance.

« Brian’s voice sits nicely with the classic Rudd drums and Cliff is just pounding away as we all want and expect him to. In the absence of Malcolm, all of the recent on-the-job training Stevie has racked up equips him with the controlled power Malcolm would employ. »

With Power Up – AC/DC’s 17th studio album – set to be released next month, Shot in the Dark is the first salvo in what fans considered an unlikely release after the death of founding member Malcolm Young in 2017. Each of the 12 songs on the new album features guitar parts Malcolm recorded or worked on with Angus and each track will be credited to both brothers.

Johnson, who replaced original singer Bon Scott in 1980, returns to the fold after leaving the Rock or Bust world tour in 2016 to preserve what was left of his hearing. (Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose took his place.) Bass player Williams, who called it quits after that tour, has also been lured back by the indefatigable Angus, who has stuck with the schoolboy outfit he first wore on stage in the early ’70s.

AC/DC is back with a new single, Shot in the Dark, six years after the release of their last album.

After several months of rumours about a new album being recorded in Vancouver, the band began dropping teasers on social media late last month and a poster featuring the words PWR/UP was pasted up outside the Young brothers’ former Sydney high school.

« This record is pretty much a dedication to Malcolm, my brother, » Angus said in Rolling Stone this week. « It’s a tribute for him like [1980 album] Back in Black was a tribute to Bon Scott. »

It may have been late 2014 when Rudd told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald « the thing with AC/DC is you’ve got to finish harder than you start, » but the same approach applies today. After triumph and tragedy, millions of album sales around the world, thousands of shows and numerous line-up changes, it seems Angus is still hell-bent on rocking hard to the finish.

« AC/DC construct their music, they don’t just whack it down, » Naylor said. « Their best work is like classical music, nothing out of place, highly orchestrated and composed within an inch of its life. Yes, it’s rock and roll but it is sophisticated in its simplicity. »

Martin Boulton is EG Editor at The Age and Shortlist Editor at the Sydney Morning Herald


AC/DC, Malcolm Young, Angus Young, Brian Johnson, Stevie Young

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