COLD CHISEL – No Plans (2012)
It’s as hard to believe that 14 years has passed by since Cold Chisel’s last studio album, as it is to then ponder that it’s now been some 28 years when COLD CHISEL ‘broke up’.
“No Plans”, the just released seventh studio album from arguably Australia’s most iconic Classic Rock band, sees the group delivering a recording chock full of everything that at least my ears yearn for when it comes to Chisel.
It may have been years between albums, but the legacy of Cold Chisel has never wavered, particularly with Jimmy Barnes and guitarist Ian Moss being so active as live solo performers.
Featuring 13 tracks that were recorded across sessions during 2010 and 2011, the passing of drummer Steve Prestwich in January 2011 could easily have resulted in this album never being completed, but in true resilient fashion, the band continued what had been started.
Right from the opening bar of the lead track “No Plans” we can be assured that Chisel are back, and back to their best. The track is a great lyric of the current mood of the band, as well as a terrific vehicle for Barnes to show off the full extent of his vocal range. From those first few seconds you’re reminded that nobody can quite sing Classic Rock like him.
Combined with that musical aggression of the title track and the hard rocking blues of the Moss’ sung “Too Late”, you also have some lyrical tongue in cheek aggression such as the first single “Everybody”.
Those unmistakable melodies of Don Walker are all over on “All For You”, which also provides a proof that Barnesy is one of the greats – few singers can convey such emotional depth. His vocal histrionics take a back seat to the strong melody and winding lead guitar of Ian Moss. It’s a sure-fire Chisel furure classic.
Barnes’ tortured larynx is also in great shape on the piano-led rev-head gem “HQ454 Monroe”, the soulful stomper “Dead and Laid to Rest”, and the hymn to wide-open spaces “I Gotta Get Back on the Road”.
“Missing A Girl”, with it’s simple acoustic guitar, piano and restrained vocals from Barnes, is in contrast to the rockin’ uptempo that dominates the album.
The album closer is the poignant “I’ve Got Things To Do”, written and sung by the late Steve Prestwich. Prestwich apparently recorded this just as a demo but the band decided not to have Barnes record it, instead preserving the raw emotion of the original take. It was certainly the right choice, and a fine choice to honour their former bandmate.
“No Plans” shows that there’s still muscle under Chisel’s bonnet.
The album is crammed full of Don Walker’s finest songs, all played with passion, fire and class. Jimmy Barnes sings even better than in his twenties, delivering an incredible performance.
The production courtesy of Kevin ‘Caveman’ Shirley (Journey, Rush, Europe, The Angels), is first class, organic, integral and live sounding when needed.
“No Plans” sees Cold Chisel back to their best and this album highlights the ingredients that made them such an iconic Classic Rock band.
01 – No Plans
02 – Everybody
03 – All For You
04 – HQ454 Monroe
05 – Dead And Laid To Rest
06 – Missing A Girl
07 – Too Late
08 – I Gotta Get Back On The Road
09 – Our Old Flame
10 – This Day
11 – Summer Moon
12 – The Horizon
13 – I Got Things To Do (Steve Vocal)
Jimmy Barnes – Lead Vocals
Ian Moss – Guitars/Vocals
Steve Prestwich – Drums/Vocals
Don Walker – Keyboards/Vocals
Phil Small – Bass/Vocals
Charley Drayton – Drums/Vocal
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