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Articles Home » 2002 Articles » Midnight Oil - 2002 Capricornia
Midnight Oil - 2002 Capricornia

Peter Garrettt - vocals
Jim Moginie - guitars
Martin Rotsey - guitars
'Bones' Hillman - bass
Rob Hurst - drums

Having begun their recording career as long ago as 1978, Aussie rockers Midnight Oil are back with their 14th studio release 'Capricornia'. While the social/political aspects of their lyrics have attracted an abundance of attention over the years, their finely crafted melodic rock has all too often been overlooked as a result. Until now ...

The Songs
We're underway with the first single 'Golden Age', reeling off vocal harmonies of subtle grace and guitar licks fluid enough to make U2 sound ragged by comparison. 'Too Much Sunshine' recalls their 'Place Without A Postcard' era, but with added melody and maturity culminating in a perfect radio anthem to be. The title track comes floating in on a semi acoustic midtempo foundation, sporting an inspired vocal arrangement of the gooseflesh inducing variety - true magic. 'Luritja Way' continues in the ethereal vein, haunting in its simplicity and subtlety, not unlike any number of tracks from the 'Blue Sky Mine album'. 'Tone Poem' is high on atmospheric qualities, building toward another anthem chorus and bringing out some very welcome lush keyboards as well. Crocodile's Cry is a short piano based instrumental of such staggering beauty you'd think Angelo Badalamenti had composed it - segueing into 'Mosquito March', an uptempo anthem high on hooks and melodic vocal arrangements. 'Been Away Too Long' is classic Midnight Oil circa 1983's '10 to 1' album - brooding verses flowing into an anthem chorus big enough to echo around the outback many times over. 'Say Your Prayers' is the only previously released track on show, having graced their previous release The Real Thing, it's a solid song built on a strong groove and a melody not unlike 80's Rush! Under The Overpass keeps the generally organic feeling of the album going, although at a more sedate tempo. The vocal harmonies during the powerful 'hallelujah' refrain will leave you floored. Track 11 is a strange place to find a song like 'The World That I See', brimming with class and a melodic arrangement that would have done their 'Earth & Sun & Moon' album proud. As is their custom, Oil have closed this album with an absolute killer - seeming to reprise from the instrumental 'Crocodile's Cry', 'Poets And Slaves' recalls the haunting majesty of 'Koala Sprint' from the 'Head Injuries' album. Incredible piano and synth motifs eventuate throughout, while the power builds into a melodic climax most bands can't manage on an album opener.

In Summary
When one considers the purely musical side of Midnight Oil's career it's hard to imagine why any number of people are ignorant enough to consistently refer to them as an 'alternative' band. In truth they're probably the best AOR tinged melodic rock band the Southern Hemisphere has ever produced, and this new album could well be their crowning achievement.

Review By: Lee Bradfield (with assistance from David Viljoen)

Track Listing:
01 Golden Age
02 Too Much Sunshine
03 Capricornia
04 Luritja Way
05 Tone Poem
06 A Crocodile Cries
07 Mosquito March
08 Been Away Too Long
09 Under The Overpass
10 World That I See
11 Poets and Slaves

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#1 | trillion1999 on October 28 2011 21:26:06
I fell in love with an unplugged version of a song called In The Valley which I heard on an ersatz internet called television back in the day.Made me change my tune about them being oversaturated by the likes of Beds Are Burning and Blue Sky Mine.I would really like to hear all their non-overplayed stuff for sure.Cheers!
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