Perhaps the unlikeliest solo artist of all time; Phil Rudd, a man who needs no introduction has re-released his debut solo effort “Head Job”. Initially released this time last year, the original release was interrupted by the trouble that has been following him recently. This record sees Phil and the band sticking to the tried and tested beat that has been the backbone of AC/DC for decades now, and which has never taken them in a wrong direction.
Kicking off with the title track we are enticed by a slick monotone riff with singer Allan Badger providing a gruff, rasp vocal that Phil has acclimatised his playing to. Now if you know anything about Phil Rudd then this instantly puts us in his shoes in what should be his theme tune, opening with the lines “Don’t talk to me, just leave me be”. Phil has been quoted as saying it is about having a beer with your mates and sharing “something that’s doing your head in”. This brooding and outwardly hostile track is totally owned by the band, a no-surprises, no-frills track such as this is as cool as “Gone Shootin'” with an added urgency to it.
The next few tracks that follow, namely “Sun Goes Down”, “Lonely Child” and the ballad (gasp!) “Crazy” don’t quite carry on the level of energy that “Head Job” sets. In all fairness they are a different kind of song to what we’ve heard Phil play before but the testosterone fuelled “Bad Move” rocks up and puts the less sensitive listeners at ease. Sounding like one of those songs that are in the background in a bikers’ bar it’s ideal as a soundtrack to a good game of fisticuffs! This is a heavy one with a frantic Young-style solo cavorting over the chugging rhythm section with all the grace of a fist-meeting-face encounter in the aforementioned bar. This will take you away from whatever it is you’re doing, unlike the day dreamy nature of the three previous songs and is certainly a highlight from the record.
The next few tracks are a good listen despite not having the hooks or the aggression which bring the faithful back for more. It is the lead single and tribute to repo men all over the world that is the jewel of the album, with roaring open guitar chords and vocals that get their teeth in on first listen. It’s tough as fucking nails! Perhaps it is because we are hearing Phil return to the familiar riff ‘n’ roll that this track strikes such a chord for me. It would also explain how the more mellow, minimalist tracks such as “Sun Goes Down”, “Lonely Child” and “Crazy” are not as impressionable.
With all due respect it is songs like “Head Job”, “Bad Move”, and “Repo Man” that Phil does best.
We heard recently that Phil has suffered a heart attack, so once again the promo trail will temporarily go cold for this album. We wish Phil well, and hopefully we’ll have a chance to talk to him about Head Job once the doctors reckon he’s up to it.
Head Job is out now.