Cold Irons Bound
Don’t Lose Your Mind
Cold Irons Bound
Formed from the ashes of two Canberra bands this now Melbourne-based four-piece is, if you want a simple tagline, The Australian Jayhawks. That’s how they come over on Highside, the subtly exhilarating opener of Don’t Lose Your Mind, the band’s second album. From there it’s to Exchange Them For You which offers some of the knot and snarl of Son Volt ahead of the Ryan Adams/Jason Isbell-like ballad, Spin The Wheels.
So it’s off to a sometimes roaring and always accomplished start.
Easier on Me is like the urban version of Uncle Tupelo’s cow-punk reveries – and just as you might worry that these Cold Irons are bound for far-too-cleansville they muddy things up just enough with the R.E.M-like shimmer of No Small Thing.
This is great Record Collection Pop under the guise of alt-country; but you need to take the time to sit with it. Any artist hopes that of their music of course, that it finds the right person prepared to take the time, but that’s just a bit unrealistic in this day and age. I could imagine the album blurring into the background for some people, nice but nearly unremarkable.
I’ve listened to it a lot and I think the playing – particularly the guitar work – is at times exquisite, the songwriting strong, the flavours and feels a little safe at times but always very “correct-sounding”; maybe also (Straight For The Plains, My Wire) a little clinical. But there are payoff-pieces too. Some Feeling Back with its guitar-snarl, the little moments of Teenage Fanclub-like hooks, and the slow-build and then eventual downhill run of the epic closing track, Starting Up A Fire. All strong moments, album highlights.
Maybe you hear this once or twice and think it sounds okay, but never great. But if you take the time you’ll hear some actual fire, some traces of grit, and most certainly time spent finding the right records to tap into, the correct tropes to mine.
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