Midnight Oil

"Essential Oils"

(Sony); (Rock)

By ​Phil ​Bennett

Tying in with their Great Circle 2017 world tour, a revamped version of their handpicked best, starting from where it started and ending where it was left has been released, and what an exhilarating collection it is.

Being a completely chronological retrospective, it’s fascinating to follow the band’s arc as they transform from the edgy manic intensity of Run By Night and Back On The Borderline, through the perfect thinking man’s pop of Power And The Passion and Beds Are Burning through the submerged low key atmosphere of Breathe and the energy reignition of Redneck Wonderland.

Fourteen albums, two eps and a seemingly uncountable number of gigs down the track, the Oils are a band that have always taken their position seriously, making bold statements about ecology, racism and Australiana as a culture and backing it up with a fierce commitment to the music, the message and to their massive fan base.

The quintessential Australian band, Midnight Oil were a product of this country’s thriving pub rock scene of the ‘70s and they simply were the best at their game, playing every gig as if it were their last.

Armed with the brilliant musical mind of Jim Moginie, the magnificent, muscular drumming of Rob Hirst and a front man in Peter Garrett who captivated all before him with his heat-hazed swagger stagger of a dance and high-octane vocal delivery, they wrote an essential chapter in Australian music history.

A journey through these 36 magnificent, riffy, passionate numbers can make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, as the topping of their steam train rhythm section with memorable hook after memorable hookmakes for a powerhouse combination matched by very few in the business.

Occasionally naïve, often unashamedly dramatic, but always heartfelt to a fault and musically superb, this is THE sound of Australian rock.

Essential listening.

​Phil ​Bennett

Musician, actor, singer, music reviewer, Phil’s interests cover a lot of bases and this is reflected in the music he writes about. From blues to soul, ambient to electronic, Phil writes about artists he feels are interesting, true to their craft and worthy of your ears.