As Airbourne celebrate the tenth anniversary of Runnin’ Wild, they’re treating fans to join them with the Diamond Cuts box set. Either on CD or vinyl, you’ll get the first three albums, a DVD documentary and an album fit to bursting with B-sides and bonus songs from said albums which is where the box set gets its name from. If you don’t know who Airbourne are or what they sound like, I’m not going to explain for you, I’ll just assume you’ve been in a coma or living under a rock.
Here, we’re just taking a look at the B-sides disc. For the vast majority – and by that I mean thirteen out of fifteen tracks – these songs have been out in the wild for mass consumption. Now they’ve all just been assembled together and you don’t need to own five copies of the same album just to have them all.
More Airbourne is fine. It’s Airbourne. This is aimed at the die-hard fans who must have everything. Though said die-hard fans will likely have heard all of these tracks in the past… If you’re a more casual fan, you’ll maybe hear some new material yet nothing new. Airbourne have made their name by sticking to a tried and tested formula. It’s what makes them popular.
Much like Alter Bridge with their own recent B-sides collection, it’s been arranged in a sensible order. All the Runnin’ Wild songs, followed by No Guts, No Glory then Black Dog Barking. You’re not exactly going to hear the evolution of Airbourne as there’s not been one, but each section definitely has its own distinct feel and you can tell when one album has been left in favour of its successor.
However, there are two songs pulled from the archives which have never been heard before, entitled “Money” and “Heavy Weight Lover”. Both are littered with double entendres (standard) and are lifted from No Guts, No Glory and along with the rest, have the biggest presence on the collection. Whilst the standard album is the weakest in Airbourne’s arsenal, ironically, it has some cracking omissions, namely in the form of “Rattle Your Bones” and “My Dynamite Will Blow You Sky High (And Get Ya Moanin’ After Midnight)” – no prizes for what the latter’s subject covers…
Where the best material comes is at the start and end with the Runnin’ Wild and Black Dog Barking tracks. While there’s nothing on either of them that would improve the pre-existing albums, there’s a definite higher quality present. For Black Dog Barking, its highlight is “Party in the Penthouse”, meanwhile Runnin’ Wild has “Hotter Than Hell” which could take the place of almost anything on the album and it would be as good.
My cynical nature comes into play when something like Diamond Cuts is released, mainly because I never know who these kinds of packages are aimed at. Clearly Airbourne were shrewd in previous releases by leaving the correct songs on the cutting room floor or offering them up as digital or store exclusives. However, the most die-hard fans will track them down and they’ve been kicking around on YouTube for years. And a casual fan isn’t likely to be bothered. Unless it’s for that special middle ground where the two groups meet. Regardless, it’s more Airbourne and if you’ve not heard these songs, you may find the odd diamond in the rough here.