COLD CHISEL (Jimmy Barnes) – Blood Moon (2019)
Aussie Classic Rock institution COLD CHISEL are back with “Blood Moon”, their ninth studio album. Barnes, Walker, Moss, Small & Drayton have been busy collecting ideas whilst away with their own projects, before finally getting together earlier this year, bringing a collection of twenty-five songs to Barnes’s Freight Train Studio, ten of which have made it on to the final release, produced by Kevin Shirley (Journey, Rush).
“Blood Moon” is the band’s third album in the last ten years and once again shows the eclectic range of ideas & genres that each member contributes to the group. Interestingly the band have dared change some of their tried & tested creative techniques, with Jimmy Barnes & Don Walker swapping roles for some of the songs, as Barnes shows his increased prowess as a lyricist & Walker with his song writing – and this works exceptionally well, as my highlights on this album are the ones that have been written this way.
Things kick off nicely with the catchy & foot tapping ‘Getting the Band Back Together’, with vocal duties shared by Barnes & the ever impressive Ian Moss. Don Walker’s smooth but simple piano intro opens us up to ‘Land of Hope’, which slowly builds to a crescendo of harmonies & snare drums, before Moss entices us with his guitar work during the solo.
The first of the more rocky Chisel tracks hits us next, as ‘Drive’ opens with Moss replicating a speeding car, before Barnes’s vocal begins to take us back to the more reckless, rock roots of a band known for their volatile, wild energy and even though it’s been forty or so years since those days, you feel with this track that those energies are still very much bubbling under the surface – this is one of my favorites on this collection.
Even though ‘Killing Time’ has a more subdued feel to it, it still has that punch to the guts, keeping you on your toes so as to avoid the next flying fist.
‘I Hit the Wall’ is a piano-infused bluesy-shuffle with Barnes telling us “I hit the wall, and the wall won” as Moss teases with his six-string in the background, while Phil Small joins in with his resonating bass lines.
Another highlight next, as we change genre & direction, with Cold Chisel taking us downstairs to a late night smoky basement members club – ‘Boundary Street’ is simply wonderful with its old-school guitar tones, tinkering piano & sultry saxophone.
‘Buried Treasure’ is the first of Charley Drayton’s contributions to the band as a songwriter with lead vocals split once more between Jimmy & Mossy and again it highlights the cruisy harmonies & strengths of the band.
‘Accident Prone’ is another rhythmic snare drum-fest from the seasoned Drayton, as Barnes once again starts to open up with his trademark mix of rock n’ soul vocals, as the band revisit one of Walker’s former solo tracks. ‘Someday’ may have a repetitive lyric but it’s so damn effective, as you’ll soon have it buzzing round your head, even after only a few listens as Jimmy once again lets go of the his vocals reins to belt out a couple of those wild & powerful notes he is so well known for.
The album closes with an almost 80s feel, as Ian Moss eases us down with ‘You Are So Beautiful’, which once again shows the versatility of this band and the collection of songs they have complied to create “Blood Moon”.
Cold Chisel will forever have a place in Australian music history and rightly so – some of the early songs they wrote & performed are classics and even though there maybe isn’t a ‘Bow River’ or ‘Cheap Wine’ that initial stands out on this album, there is still plenty to enjoy & some real highlights, which will grow on you extremely quickly.
You just know when the band hit the road in December & January the Blood Moon tracks will sit very nicely in a set that will be crammed full of Cold Chisel’s timeless anthems.
01. Getting The Band Back Together
02. Land Of Hope
04. The Killing Time
05. I Hit The Wall
06. Boundary Street
07. Buried Treasure
08. Accident Prone
10. You Are So Beautiful
Jimmy Barnes – vocals, guitar
Ian Moss – lead guitar, vocals
Don Walker – keyboards, backing vocals
Phil Small – bass guitar, backing vocals
Charley Drayton – drums, backing vocals