Cold Chisel are back with Blood Moon, their ninth studio album, in a career that spans five decades. Chisel are such an important band in Australian music, and it’s a real shame that they never found the world wide acclaim of an INXS or AC/DC – because they deserve it just as much.
Blood Moon features a unique story-teller style to the songs, which are given a huge boost from the voices of Jimmy Barnes who has an aged, weathered quality to his voice these days, which suits magnificently and Ian Moss, who has a flawless voice himself. Then there’s Moss’s guitar playing which is nothing short of underrated. He plays with so much feeling – often subdued, but he can shred a killer solo when it’s required.
Phil Small gives the songs exactly what they need with his bass guitar, while newest member, Charley Drayton, adds a shuffle to the tracks with his perfect drumming. Chief song writer, Don Walker, adds flavour with his keyboards – and of course, his lyrics, which are everything to Chisel.
As the album opens with “Getting the Band Back Together”, Moss and Barnes narrate the story of a band who decide to get back together in their later years. It’s not the story of Chisel themselves, but it’s obviously not purely fictional. With so many great songs in the bands repertoire, it would be hard to say that this is their best song, but it’s certainly up there. An instant classic in my opinion.
“Land of Hope” is completely infectious. Barnes’ vocals are superb, and the little flourishes from Moss’s guitar are important to the overall feel of the song. The rhythm section keeps the track moving along by adding a certain amount of bounce. It’s amazingly good.
“Drive” is about hitting the road to forget about life’s problems – whatever they may be. “Killing Time” is an excellent ballad, that hinges entirely on Walkers stunning piano playing, and Jimmy Barnes’ gravelly, powerful voice. These previous songs, coupled with “I Hit the Wall” make for a great trilogy. Not necessarily tied thematically, yet still, each compliments the next.
I actually loved the bands 2012 album, No Plans, but Blood Moon is easily their best work since Twentieth Century, way back in 1984. “Boundary Street” is a gentle number that swings and shuffles, and is really brought to life by the brass instruments that are used to amazing effect.
“Buried Treasure” has a fantastic chorus that is catchy and fun, but the real highlight of this track is the shared vocals from Moss and Barnes – that, as well as some more exceptional lead guitar from the criminally underrated Ian Moss.
While nothing on this album is very far removed from the “classic sound” of Cold Chisel, “Accident Prone” is one of the most familiar sounding tracks of the whole album. It really does throw back to some of the bands best known sounds, and should have long time fans excited.
“Someday” features a very country inspired sound, and in my opinion, is one of Don Walkers best written songs of the album. His lyrics really have a way of capturing the listeners imagination – at least in my opinion. These songs are all incredibly easy to engage with.
The final track is “You Are So Beautiful”, and it features an inspired performance from Ian Moss. In fact, the whole band come together to make this touching ballad something special. A fantastic closer, to an equally fantastic album.
I’m a long time fan, and I will be seeing the band in just a couple of weeks time – if they choose to drop some classics from the set in favour of any tracks from this album, I will walk away just as happy. Very strong album, from an iconic band.