Released 14 years after their last album, and in the current context of retro music fads, it would be natural to assume “No Plans” is Cold Chisel’s attempt to cash in on renewed popularity.  This would most certainly be a mistake and would fail to take into account the respectable efforts its members have made in their solo careers: Notably Jimmy Barnes’ achievement of 5 top 5 albums in Australia during this time, but also Ian Moss’ credible solo albums such as the top 50 placed “Let’s all get together.”  Another easy assumption would be that as they are 14 years older, and have not played regularly together during this time, the music will not gel and will not reach their previously lofty heights.  This would also be a mistaken assumption.  Whilst not containing a “Khe Sahn” or “When the war is over“, “No Plans” is a continually enjoyable Cold Chisel album.  Granted this album will not suit everyone and if you’ve already listened to Cold Chisel and are not a fan, this is not for you.  But if you have one of the many Cold Chisel Best Ofs in your record collection then you should listen to this album.

 

Barnes’ input is strong and his singing still sounds very easy for someone whose voice often sounds like a character from Lord of The Rings. Yet again Cold Chisel has released a studio album that contradicts the mainstream view that they are little more than a vehicle for Barnesy’s distinctive voice.  Mossy is, as always, Mr Consistency, complementing Barnes with his trademark licks lifting every track and his supporting vocals are immaculate.

 

No Plans” sees the band outlining what they think is wrong with the world at the moment.  “Everybody” sees Don Walker pointing his finger and identifies the ‘idiots’ he wants to be free of: Everyone who wants to be an ‘individual’, ‘tragedy’, ‘living in a limousine’ or ‘to have children’ without hanging-round are all subject to Walker’s glare and Barnesy’s snarl.  This trend is also evident on the title track, which is destined to be a fan favourite as he makes it clear he’s “Got no iPhone plugging into his brain”. It is this backlash at modernity that focuses this record and shows what it is that has made Cold Chisel one of the great Australian bands:  They know what they do well and they do it – without iPhones or other unnecessary technology.  Barnesy sings, Mossy plays guitar, Steve plays drums (albeit on only three tracks, but he is otherwise replaced serviceably by Charlie Drayton), Phil plays bass and Don plays keyboards and writes some of their most amazing tunes.  It’s an old recipe, but it’s one that works and that is why, for anyone who has ever liked Cold Chisel, “No Plans” will be one of the most enjoyable, if not one of the best, Australian albums that comes out in 2012.