It’s hard to imagine a more graceful way to exit after a nearly 45-year career. The Aus-rock legends have come back with more urgency and conviction than ever, to close the curtain on one of the most powerful political legacies in music, and deliver their final statements on reconciliation and climate action.
‘RESIST’ is the latter of the two, with the former being the 2021 mini collaborative album, ‘The Makaratta Project’. The focus on 'RESIST' rivals that of ’10-1’ or ‘Red Sails in the Sunset’ as it hones in on climate change and the political landscape of the Morrison government. Of who the Oils attack directly on ‘Nobody’s Child’ or on ‘The Barka-Darling River’ with “who left the bag of idiots open”. The onslaught continues of ‘Reef’ or the ode to nature passed on ‘Tarkine’, which shows the Oils longstanding advocacy for both the Great Barrier Reef protection and the now-settled court ruling of the Tarkine-MMG development. The urgency of ‘At The Time of Writing’ brings all this home, with the closer, ‘Last Frontier’, questioning just how long inaction can last.
There is no other album in recent memory directly engaging with the political landscape in this manner. Writing these protest songs in their eternal spirit of the genre, but with a conviction born out of the limited time left for action and the band.
Potential comparisons could be ‘Pure Comedy’ or ‘Ignorance’ or the singles ‘Sleep Australia Sleep’ from Paul Kelly and ‘Running the World’ from Jarvis Cocker. Maybe Sleaford Mods even. Though none of these artists has the political focus of the Oils. U2 could never release an album this powerful, and Rage Against the Machine haven’t released new music since 2000.
No other band remains as determined or as driven as the Oils 45 years in. It has all the musicianship of their pub-forged rock (‘Head Injuries’) courtesy of Rob Hirst and Martin Rotsey. As always, Jim Moginie provides his signature melodies, except with a revised list of demands from the always sharp edge of Garrett.
The Oils play their last show on Monday the 3/10/22 at the Hordern Pavilion to a hometown sold-out crowd.
Vale Midnight Oil.
‘RESIST’ is available in the Store now.
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