Review Summary: A solid album with an immortal Aussie rock song.
Cold Chisel are one of Australia's most successful rock acts ever, penning some of this country's most iconic songs ('When The War Is Over', 'Bow River' and 'Flame Trees', to name a few). Cold Chisel, their self-titled debut album, is one of their quietest achievers: by no means a poor work, but rarely talked about in comparison to East and Circus Animals.
It is an album that should get more recognition: several songs are touchingly poetic about the pressure and desperation of the constant grind of day after day working life ('Home and Broken Hearted', 'One Long Day' and 'Northbound'). There is the sad, bluesy 'Just How Many Times' in which Ian Moss's guitar work, which is exceptional and underrated, hits a high point with his serpentine solo, and of course, the Aussie pub rock classic 'Khe Sanh', voted the greatest Australian song of all time in 2006.
It is hard to offer a song that combines the music and vocals in such a compatible manner as 'Khe Sanh'. Jimmy Barnes sounds poetic and mellow with the pub rock style instrumentals alongside him. The song is a classic from the opening piano arpeggio, and every line is a deadset Aussie classic.
'One Long Day', with its sly, jazzy intro, is about the crush of working in the stock market (General panic in the market place/Boss found hung in office, could not stand the pace). It fades into the general quiet despair of relentless, suffocating day to day work.
The only flops are the dull, easy listening 'Rosaline' and 'Daskarzine', which mumble around with clichéd lyrics that are weak for Chisel’s normal efforts. The opening track 'Juliet', although not a bad song, is take or leave.
Cold Chisel is definitely worth buying, even for just Khe Sanh. Just How Many Times, Home and Broken Hearted and One Long Day are strong songs, with powerful, personal lyrics and classic Australian blues music.