Album Review :: ’77 – 21st Century Rock

Hailing from the sunny shores of Barcelona, a new wave of old rock gets ready to devour the recently resurrected scene.


'77 - 21st Century Rock © Listenable Records / Weight Recordings

As a general rule of thumb employed by most things in life, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In music, however, this does not always suffice as imitation can often lead to a somewhat black balled attitude held towards any artist seen “copying” other artists in either sound, style or material. The world of hard rock, thankfully, does not adhere to these or any other rules. It is with great pleasure that Spanish rockers ’77 release their first fully fledged album 21st Century Rock, a sleazy hard rock album that harkens back to the golden era of the late 1970s where singers were hairy, bare chested beasts, drummers were drunk and guitars sweated spinal fluid as their fingers danced across the fretboard.

Hailing from Barcelona, Spain, ’77 are the latest produce in the vein of classic rockers AC/DC, KISS, Alice Cooper and The Scorpions. With their bold as brass approach to sleazy licks, lyrics and riffs, this refreshingly old take on rock music makes the listener feel like they have travelled through a temporal portal in the fabric of the space time continuum, landing smack down in the middle of 1978 and desperately seeking a pair of crotch hugging jeans, a main full of hair and a fetching fur lined, sleeveless denim jacket… rivets and all.

Kicking off their debut album, ’77 take to the studio with “Gimme Rock n Roll” a less than original sounding title for what is essentially a classic blues based rock number, designed for driving down roads at loud volume. More of the same is continued with “Hardworking Liar” and “Shake it Up”, the latter being a much meaner sounding, growling number, the screaming lead guitar, an SG of course, of LG Valeta careering over the lumbering and brooding rhythm like an angry eagle on the hunt.

The highlight of the ten track album comes with the eponymous “21st Century Rock”, its initial ghostly guitar intro a testimony to the musical ability of the band and their producers. Designed as the group’s anthem, this final offering from their debut album is a wonderfully crafted, lyric heavy song destined to get audiences sweaty, raucous and jumping for joy as the upbeat tempo makes the listener tap their feet uncontrollably along in time. The solo is a blistering blast all across the fretboard and the backing vocals from the percussion section reiterate the down and dirty nature of the band and its roots in working class, pub rock.

Upon listening to 21st Century Rock it is easy to slip the rose tinted glasses on and regard it as nothing more than a less than fractious tribute to the rock scene of the late seventies. Despite the title of the album, it would appear that ’77 are very much still in love with an era of music that has long since faded into memory. Lead singer Armand Valeta has the uncanny ability to sound very much like the late, great Bon Scott in both pitch and tone, something that has not been achieved since Scott’s death in 1980. However, it should be noted that this is not necessarily a bad thing so long as the fans and music industry do not regard this as nothing more than a tribute as opposed to an original band trying and playing their best. It is therefore an important point to be noted that ’77 ARE an original band, who have opened for Airbourne on their Spanish legs of a world tour, and should therefore be treated thusly.

21st Century Rock is an excellent album for fans of the sleaze and hard rock genres of music. Although not well documented in recent years, it is therefore refreshing to hear a raw and guttural form of this type of music. Excellently produced and ingeniously and lovingly crafted, ’77 are a band on the up who deserve as much mainstream success as they dare to achieve.

Jonathan Whitelaw

For more band information, availability of the album and tour dates check out their website:

3 Responses to “Album Review :: ’77 – 21st Century Rock”

  1. I am, as we speak, reviewing this album for, and I found the obvious question to be quite a hard one: if you feel like listening to this kind of music, why wouldn’t you just put T.N.T. or High Voltage on the record player again? After all, this music has been made before. An impressive 35 years ago, to be precise.

    Your review was the first I found that defends the band with regards to this question, and was well written to boot. As such, it served well as reading material for my review, which I wanted to thank you for.

    The only kind of relevant role for this album I could come up with myself – one you didn’t mention – was to serve as a business card to lure people to live shows. Let’s face it: AC/DC doesn’t exactly tour often enough to satisfy a classic rocker’s need for sleazy bluesriffs, and when they do, getting one’s hands on tickets is a hard and expensive business. That’s where tribute, cover and emulation bands find their raison d’être, and among those, I dare say that ’77 is definitely at the top. I’m positive these guys must be a blast to see on a stage, and would recommend your readers (and mine) to take the chance at the earliest opportunity.

    Kind regards,

    Gijs Witdouck

    P.S.: Guitars have fingers? And spinal fluid, for that matter?

    • Jonathan says:

      Thank you for your comments. I know what you mean with the whole T.N.T and High Voltage thing, although i believe the band themselves say its more Powerage era AC/DC than anything but they are a stand alone band, if a little too close to the original than perhaps say Airbourne or others. Fair points though.

  2. Mike Oxlong says:

    I’m loving it, listening right now for the first time. It’s like the long lost AC/DC album and is 20x better than anything they have put out since Bon died. It reminds me more of the dirty deeds done dirt cheap album but I hear some of the others too. I’ve always enjoyed the ac/dc clones Dirty Looks, Broken Teeth, Airbourne, Rhinobucket and The Poor to name a few. Since there will never be more AC/DC with Bon this kind of stuff is the next best thing especially when it’s so true to the original such as this. Rock on ’77!!

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