6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Slick from the Oil's.,
This review is from: Diesel And Dust (Audio CD)
Midnight oil has always been a wee bit of an enigma to us British, never hitting the heights of stardom that they did in their native Australia or America. This could be down to the strong Aussie accent in which singer Peter Garrett performs. In much the same way as The Proclaimers never hit the heights in this country because of their strong Scottish burr, maybe us Brits like our singers with the customary unaccented sound. More likely however it is because of the political slant that all Oil's albums contain, and quite frankly us Pomme's don't come across to well in some of the releases, making it impossible to market them over here. Other countries (America, France and even Australia) are not immune to an Oil's ear bashing but we just can't seem to take our share of critisism - although the majority of France don't care too much for them either.
The fact that they are not too well known over here in the U.K has probably made them one of Australia's best kept secrets. They are not full out rockers like they are often billed, but have a genuine sound of their own. They were once described in the British press as the Australian Def Leppard, but that is complete tosh. They are not as loud as the Lep's but neither are they mellow. Some tunes have been described as being like E.L.O without the classical arrangements, but they are not that complex, yet they are more complex than your average rock group. You can probably tell that they are hard to classify, and that adds to their unique appeal.
So what about the songs. Well everybody knows Beds Are Burning; Midnight Oil's only true Worldwide smash hit. It has got to be one of the most instantly recognisable hard rock tunes ever, with its pounding drum line and simple but effective guitar-led rhythms. The lyrics are very poignant and meaningful, but if you arn't into that kind of thing then just sit back, crank up the volume and enjoy this track as the rocker that it is. The gems don't stop there; Put Down That Weapon, Arctic World, and Whoah are all deeply haunting in sound and masterfully crafted. The Oil's are good enough to get their message across to those that wish to hear it and still entertain those that don't. Dreamworld, Warakurna, The Dead Heart and Gunbarrel Highway are faster paced than others on the album but not as raucous as Beds Are Burning. Each track has it's own unique sound and style and you will find yourself singing along to with a big old smile on your face. Warakurna in particular is catchy in the extreme. The remaining tracks are also fast paced but a little more melodic, making them sound well written and well performed (which they are).
The great thing about this collection of songs is that each song has it's own meaning, and depending on your perception of the album, each listener will come up with a different meaning for each song. You don't just get well written songs and a fantastic unique sound from Midnight Oil, you also get a history lesson but not one that's rammed down your throat. The songs are clever and subtle enough for you hear it only if you choose to do so. If you choose not to then you are still wildly entertained by the well crafted rock on display. The Oil's are different and that is refreshing, and you can't help but feel that if more musicians took such a genuine and heartfelt interest in the plight of the World today, then we would all be in a much better place. A truly great and moving album.