The Listener

Make Status Quo sound like Stockhausen: AC/DC's Power Up reviewed

5 December 2020

9:00 AM

5 December 2020

9:00 AM

Grade: C

The fear is this: you’re wearing a leather jacket and hipster jeans and think you look cool, but you can’t fasten either item of clothing and your teeth have fallen out. Instead you are simply an undignified granddad and everybody knows it. Hell, I’ve been there, over the years, until kindly women intervened. Apparently no women have intervened with guitarist Angus Young. He’s still wearing his short-trousered schoolboy outfit, gurning like a man who has just discovered a kidney stone, at the age of 65. No matter how desperately, inelegantly, you cling to your youth, there’s always Angus to make you look kind of measured.


The Aussie-Geordie alliance is back with endlessly recycled crunchy guitar chords, songs that never touch five minutes and scarcely even a nod in the direction of modernity. A variation on the same riff drags the listener through the first three songs, with Brian Johnson’s sub-Plant shrieking carrying what sounds like the very same melody line. They don’t care. It’s worked well in the past and this stuff is, in truth, no worse than it was in 1980. There is a vague nod in the direction of subtlety in ‘Through the Mists of Time’ and they almost sound like Ragged Glory-era Crazy Horse on ‘Kick You When You’re Down’.

Should they be praised for sticking so unapologetically to their howitzers? Yeah, sure. So, well done — now let’s put something else on instead. They make Status Quo resemble Stockhausen, and always did.

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