Picks and Pans Review: Stiff Upper Lip

updated 03/20/2000 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/20/2000 AT 01:00 AM EST

AC/DC (East West/Elektra)

As long as grown men insist on calling one another dude, there will be a place in the universe for AC/DC. Which is a good thing, because for nearly 30 years this Australian heavy-metal band has been Cranking out grinding, thundering and often brilliant odes to good times, fast women and other time-honored rock themes. Alas, on Stiff Upper Lip, the group's 17th release, charismatic guitarist Angus Young and the rest of the band are turning those themes into dog-eared clich├ęs. Lip features the same no-frills, blues-based muscle music that has always been AC/DC's forte, but this time around the guys sound a bit weary. Where, for example, is the wit and energy of 1980's "You Shook Me All Night Long" or 1981's "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap"? It's one thing to have a trademark sound, quite another to be stuck in a rut. When the band launches into the plodding "Safe in New York City," the sentiment sounds hopelessly dated, considering the Big Apple's falling crime rate and newfound wholesome image. Sadly, AC/DC seems to be wallowing in its own nostalgia.

Bottom Line: Power outage

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