Released on September 17, 2021 (Duckwalk Chuck)
Norwegian rockers Duckwalk Chuck are back — believe it or not — with their fifth album Fired Up after the release of Comin ‘Out Blastin’ CD (2004), Tombstone Stomp CD (2008), Rebel EP (2009) and High Speed City CD (2017). Once again and very similar to my experience with High Speed City, I was instantly hooked when I started listening to Fired Up. While there are still many Airbourne like similarities on Fired Up like on High Speed City, I found that there was also quite a Motörhead feel to a lot of the songs. If anything, I found that there was a real rough edge to the tracks this time around. Although the song quality tails off towards the end of the album, those first seven tracks on Fired Up with the exception of the slower “Rosie’s” really rock. And as I have listened to Fired Up more and more over the last two months (courtesy of an advance copy from the band), I have started to really even enjoy three of the last four tracks that I wasn’t as enthused about even though the quality does go down a notch.
Fired Up starts off with a simple yet addictive guitar riff on the opening track “All Fired Up.” It reminds me of the guitar work on one of my favourite albums of all-time — Wolfchild‘s debut self-titled full-length album — and that is simply a great thing. There is no need to say that I am really liking the guitar tone on Fired Up. Arvid Thorsen‘s singing will likely be the make it or break it factor on Duckwalk Chuck‘s new offering but I’ve never been that picky on a person’s ability to sing if the songs really rock. “It’s Only Rock’N’Roll” is built around an infectious guitar riff that keeps popping up throughout the song. “Motor Madness” slows down the pace a little bit and is the first reminder of the Motörhead influences with the very Lemmy Kilmister sounding vocals during the verse portions of the track. Probably the highlight of Fired Up is the slower but catchy Airbourne like “Ghost Town.” Every time I hear it, I end up singing along to the chorus. You really can’t ask for much more from a song at the end of the day.
I had mentioned that the first seven songs on Fired Up were stellar with the exception of the slower paced “Rosie’s” which sees Thorsen sharing the lead vocals with guitarist Håkon Heland Rønneberg. I kind of see “Rosie’s” as AC/DC‘s “Rock And Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” from Back In Black. I’m not comparing Fired Up to Back In Black by any means but “Rock And Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” is a song that I slowly warmed up to over the years. Every time that I listen to “Rosie’s”, I warm up to it a little more as well. Luckily, things fall back on track with “Reckless Driver” whose song title fits the track to a “T.” You almost feel like you’re in a vehicle with a “reckless driver” when listening to the song. The very Motörhead sounding “Shut Your Lights” is next and if you close your eyes, you might just think that Lemmy has come back from the dead.
From then on, Fired Up goes from “A” or “B” type songs to “C” or “D” tracks. “I’m The Devil” is a seemingly uninspired song. Although the guitar solo is pretty cool, the singing is at a poor man’s George Thorogood level. The next track “Criminal Man” has a swagger to it that makes it enjoyable. “World On Fire” is a slower paced track that I enjoy a little more each time that I hear it and which has a bit of an Ace Frehley flare to it. Fired Up ends with the ‘bonus track’ “Thirsty Dog” which I would have been fine to have been left off the album. It just does not measure up when compared to most of the other songs on Fired Up.
Overall, Fired Up is a fun album that shows a wider range of influences than the prior effort High Speed City. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the cool looking cover art for Fired Up. The green colours are stunning and I like the “duck mascot” with the neat looking race car / convertible. With such a cool cover, if I was browsing a record shop like I was back in the day, I might just pick this album up simply based on the cover alone. The good news is that had I done so, I would have discovered that Fired Up is a cracker of an album as well.
01. All Fired Up
02. It’s Only Rock’N’Roll
03. Motor Madness
04. Ghost Town
06. Reckless Driver
07. Shut Your Lights
08. I’m The Devil
09. Criminal Man
10. World On Fire
11. Thirsty Dog
Arvid Thorsen – lead vocals, bass
Arild Rettore – lead guitar, backing vocals
Håkon Heland Rønneberg – rhythm guitar, backing vocals, co-lead vocals (5)
Tord Eiken – drums, percussion backing vocals
Produced and engineered by Bjorn Erik Sorensen
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, September 2021
Duckwalk Chuck‘s “All Fired Up” track:
Duckwalk Chuck‘s “Ghost Town” track: