If you’ve heard of the tour dates then you know that Cold Chisel is back with a thankful vengeance. The thankful part comes in the form of their best of album, The Best of Cold Chisel – All For You, the track-list of which was selected by fans via an online poll.
The opening song “Standing on the Outside” is a fitting reminder us of the good old fashioned pub rock that you should expect on the album. This compilation moves into more popular territory with songs like “Flame Trees” and “Khe Sanh”. “When the War Is Over”, another favourite, proves to be ever more satisfying in its original version than the time that girl from Australian Idol covered it – but no surprises there.
The casual Cold Chisel listener may find some gems here. “You Got Nothing I Want” was a new discovery for this reviewer, and its rollicking pace and chant-like chorus made for a damn good listen; “HQ 454 Monroe” yielded similar results. The band was apparently surprised by their fans’ choice of “Shipping Steel” and “Yakuza Girls”, and although maybe they weren’t expected they are welcome inclusions, further displaying the kind of rock that made Cold Chisel famous.
There are 20 songs and while some are more familiar than others, it can be said that they do all sound vaguely similar after a while – but this is Cold Chisel, and really there’s nothing to expect but Jimmy Barnes’ distinctive voice screaming away. Sometimes, as in this album’s case, this can be a good thing. Well, maybe “Ita” could have been left off – but seeing as the sometimes questionable lyrics and uncomfortable rhythm pays tribute to that ever-present figure of Australia media Ita Buttrose, its inclusion can be forgiven.
The band is clearly appreciative of their audience, allowing them not only to choose the track-list but to submit comments about the band, including a selection of these in the liner notes. Many fans feel a deep attachment to the band, with their songs forming the soundtrack to their childhoods and beyond, accompanying their weddings and even their funerals.
It is this kind of emotional attachment that has given Cold Chisel their longevity, and even though some may not find the band’s distinctive sound to their tastes, this longevity is understood after a listen to this album. Call it pub rock or call it powerful lyricism; Cold Chisel has some fine tunes displayed on this album.
– Rose Pullen