There hasn’t been a tot of real grassroots guitar rock’n’roll to come out of Australia since Jimmy Barnes’ last record. A bit, but not much. In fact, there’s been very few enduring Aussie bands capable of blowing your head off since AC/DC. Paul Christie, Swanee and the Party Boys clearly want to change all that.
This, The Party Boys’ first studio album, finally transcends their ‘all-star been-around group’ facade with some original tracks that more than equal the classic rock they have always peddled with great commercial success.
And it’s been a long time coming. The Boys have seemingly been around for 100 years and had just about as many members. The Party Boys have become The Commercial Boys. Paul Christie’s “dream group” now packs as much financial punch on radio and vinyl as it always has on stage.
Their first release with CBS is a scorcher. Half an album of hand-picked covers and half of originals. It already has two hits, ‘He’s Gonna Step On You Again’ and ‘Hold Your Head Up’, both of which set the tone for a traditional hard rock album spiced with melody. The next single will be the semi-melodic original “Is This The Way To Say Goodbye”, a bluesy little track that Swanee croons in a style befitting brother Barnes himself. But the Boys potential for greatness is never better illustrated than on the remaining original ‘She’s A Mystery’, ‘Rising Star’, ‘Small Talk’ and particularly ‘It Could’ve Been You’.
‘She’s A Mystery’ and ‘It Could’ve Been You’ are the sort of songs most of the new American melodic metal brigade would kill to get their hands on. The other two originals are both up-front Aussie screamers mirror the influence of veteran rockers Alan Lancaster and John Brewster on the band.
Of course, the Party Boys would be castigated by their fans if they didn’t include oldies like ‘High Voltage’ and ‘Gloria’ on the record. Throw in Kevin Borich classic ‘Gonna See My Baby’, and The ‘Boys have served up new bosses CBS with a well-balanced commercial effort.
The production (Lancaster and Brewster produced) is unashamedly guitar-based and not fancy or pretentious, although some of the cover songs do come across as being a bit flat. But the Boys’ no frills style is enough to remind you that Ackadacka are Australian. While this album will hardly set the Australian music industry on its ear like AC/DC did, there’s enough potential on show to indicate that’s exactly what the Party Boys are capable of doing.
Filed for JUKE MAGAZINE