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.