After a well deserved break following the mammoth stadium-filling Black Ice World Tour and the forced departure of founding member Malcolm Young due to ill health, the indefatigable AC/DC steam train rolls on.
Play Ball, the lead single off the celebrated Australian hark rock band’s upcoming fifteenth studio album Rock or Bust, has already been heavily featured in Turner Sports’ 2014 Major League Baseball Postseason campaign.
The track however does not really extend itself beyond the typical AC/DC sound. The airy yet punchy drums first allow the track to slowly simmer. Of course, listeners heed vocalist Brian Johnstone’s raspy ‘listen’ at the start. Despite the usual elements: his soulful vocals and Angus Young’s crunchy riffs that are great for strutting to, the sprawling melody and repetitive chords in the verses sound a bit mundane after a while.
Fortunately, the chorus reawakens the track through its country-esque, rising riff and catchy ‘play play play ball’ hook. Mid-song, the bridge brings an overdue musical twist as Johnstone’s growls and howls compete with Angus Young’s shrilly yet thrilling solos. Barely after a brief reprise of the final chorus, the band finish on a strong note with more generous guitar flourishes and adlibbing from Johnson. The track is already over after less than three minutes, but at least it is concise.
Play Ball should be a sufficient crowd pleaser the next time AC/DC tours. The track does not grab, but it still satisfies.