10 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

According to keyboardist and primary songwriter Don Walker, Cold Chisel had longed planned a big Australian tour in 2020, but there was one condition: There had to be a new album. “We don’t like to go out and do a major tour without having a recording process leading into it,” he tells Apple Music. “That’s the joy of the band–going in and recording new songs.” And so it is that the perennial Oz rockers have emerged with Blood Moon, their ninth studio LP. They tackled it with the same mindset they’ve had since forming in Adelaide in 1973: What if this is the last one? “That’s a good way to approach a project,” says Walker. “If this is the last time you could do this, how good would you make it? How important would it be?”

While that ethos may not have changed over the years, the band’s songwriting methods have. For the first time in their career, the members collaborated prior to recording Blood Moon, rather than writing individually and then working on ideas together in the studio. Never before had frontman Jimmy Barnes brought Walker lyrics to write music to. “If I see a good set of words, I can hear music,” says Walker. “These days [Barnes] is very confident in his ability to write away from music because he’s had a couple of hit books. The lyrics he’s bringing to me are very good.” But listen to the barren, bare-bones blues of “Drive” or the ominously seductive “The Killing Time” and you’ll hear a band signalling a darker turn. The Walker-penned “I Hit The Wall” is the aural equivalent of walking through a dingy alley in the wrong part of town after midnight, Barnes sneering the killer line “I hit the wall and the wall won.” “I’ve always written dark,” acknowledges Walker, “but I always try and get some humour into it.” Another of his notable contributions, “Boundary Street”, is a swampy dirge straight out of the seedier side of New Orleans. “It’s a guide offering to take you into the underbelly of the city,” he says. “It’s an Orpheus song.”

There’s still light shining through the cracks here, particularly in opening track “Getting the Band Back Together”, an uptempo paean to the weekend-warrior scene in which middle-aged musicians do as the title suggests and relive former glories. It speaks to that primal thrill of making music that still drives Cold Chisel. “It’s the fun of working with people who are good at what they do,” says Walker. “The skills other people bring to it, that’s the fun of it for me.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

According to keyboardist and primary songwriter Don Walker, Cold Chisel had longed planned a big Australian tour in 2020, but there was one condition: There had to be a new album. “We don’t like to go out and do a major tour without having a recording process leading into it,” he tells Apple Music. “That’s the joy of the band–going in and recording new songs.” And so it is that the perennial Oz rockers have emerged with Blood Moon, their ninth studio LP. They tackled it with the same mindset they’ve had since forming in Adelaide in 1973: What if this is the last one? “That’s a good way to approach a project,” says Walker. “If this is the last time you could do this, how good would you make it? How important would it be?”

While that ethos may not have changed over the years, the band’s songwriting methods have. For the first time in their career, the members collaborated prior to recording Blood Moon, rather than writing individually and then working on ideas together in the studio. Never before had frontman Jimmy Barnes brought Walker lyrics to write music to. “If I see a good set of words, I can hear music,” says Walker. “These days [Barnes] is very confident in his ability to write away from music because he’s had a couple of hit books. The lyrics he’s bringing to me are very good.” But listen to the barren, bare-bones blues of “Drive” or the ominously seductive “The Killing Time” and you’ll hear a band signalling a darker turn. The Walker-penned “I Hit The Wall” is the aural equivalent of walking through a dingy alley in the wrong part of town after midnight, Barnes sneering the killer line “I hit the wall and the wall won.” “I’ve always written dark,” acknowledges Walker, “but I always try and get some humour into it.” Another of his notable contributions, “Boundary Street”, is a swampy dirge straight out of the seedier side of New Orleans. “It’s a guide offering to take you into the underbelly of the city,” he says. “It’s an Orpheus song.”

There’s still light shining through the cracks here, particularly in opening track “Getting the Band Back Together”, an uptempo paean to the weekend-warrior scene in which middle-aged musicians do as the title suggests and relive former glories. It speaks to that primal thrill of making music that still drives Cold Chisel. “It’s the fun of working with people who are good at what they do,” says Walker. “The skills other people bring to it, that’s the fun of it for me.”

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