[1 April 2012]
Despite being named after AC/DC’s original lead singer, the Bon Scotts are not a hard rock outfit. Instead, this septet plays a ramshackle, anything-goes sort of folk-pop. The oddball instrumentation includes acoustic guitar, accordion, various brass instruments, the occasional violin and cello, and a sturdy rhythm section. Combined with the sloppy but charming nature of their songs, the Bon Scotts often sound more like a bunch of friends who started bringing their instruments out to the pub and jamming together than a focused band.
Frontman Robert Zimmerman’s lyrics range from sardonic (“Let’s do what the Catholics do / Have sex and babies!”) to reflective (“The Bomb, the Ballot, and the Boycott” reminisces about his grandfather’s life), but his urgent delivery is catchy and appealing. The whole album is quite entertaining, but the band is at their best on the obvious singles. The rousing “Deep Polluted Sea” is a simple love song that bounces along on syncopated guitar chords and an accordion melody. It’s anchored by one of those choruses that’s an instant singalong. “Kids in Counterfeit” uses an appealing intentionally rough-sounding brass section to buttress its gang vocal chorus, with its chanted refrain “We will all die at the hands of C.G.I.”. The Bon Scotts are a lot of fun, and this is an album that deserves to find an audience outside of their native Austraila.