Jimmy Barnes – Love And Fear

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Album Review by Mark Bayross

This album is fantastic for the first fifteen seconds. The guitar chords of opener LOVE AND HATE are a rush of heavy melody not unlike the latest Meethook Seed album. Unfortunately, it all goes pear-shaped the instant Jimmy Barnes starts singing. His poodle-metal whine throws the music straight back to the eighties with a thud. You can practically hear the mullets waving in the wind….

This solo effort is the Australian singer’s highly personal study of his turbulent relationship with his wife (hence the title), which the couple wrote together. It’s a baring of the soul which, really, he and his better half should have kept between themselves. Surely a candlelit dinner would have done? Instead, we are subjected to this schmaltz.

BY THE GRACE OF GOD, THANKFUL FOR THE RAIN and HEART AND CRIES ALONE compete with each other for sick-making corniness, while the lyrics would make many a teenage poet blush with embarrassment: “I can’t go out and find someone new / There’s not a girl in the world will do / For you my heart will always be true” (LOVE GONE COLD).

The rest of the album is made up of the kind of power-ballads Bonnie Tyler used to crank out all over MTV in a decade when sweat-bands and spandex were ‘de riguer’. The fact that Jimmy Barnes used to be a member of eighties Aussie rockers Cold Chisel, and that he co-produced the album with two former members of INXS might go some way towards explaining this musical time vortex.

Even the presence of Danny Saber on BLIND CAN’T LEAD THE BLIND and the attempt at rocking-out that is the closing SORRY can’t raise this album beyond the pedestrian. No doubt the message Mr and Mrs Barnes are trying to convey to each other comes across loud and clear, but why did they feel the need to share it with the rest of the world? Next time, Jimmy, please do us a favour – say it with flowers…

2 stars