13 Songs, 51 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The casual, intimate, and often idiosyncratic Breathe at times feels like a complete subversion of Midnight Oil’s much-beloved political anthems. Where songs like “Beds Are Burning” were direct in every sense of the word, the tracks here—recorded in Sydney and New Orleans with Malcolm Burn, a colleague of Daniel Lanois—are murky and ambiguous. “Underwater” is sleek and burbling, a homemade potion equally connected to Wilco and The Doors. Burn’s atmospheric production elevates songs like “Common Ground,” “Barest Degree," and “In the Rain,” the last of which features a stunning falsetto vocal from longtime howler Peter Garrett. While the pulsating “Bring on the Change” qualifies as one of the band’s biggest and most exciting political anthems, the album's best moments are closer to American folk and country music. Emmylou Harris duets with Garrett on the quietly poignant “Home,” while the harmonica-tinged “One Too Many Times” might be the simplest, most unadorned song the Oils have ever made, which also makes it one of the best.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The casual, intimate, and often idiosyncratic Breathe at times feels like a complete subversion of Midnight Oil’s much-beloved political anthems. Where songs like “Beds Are Burning” were direct in every sense of the word, the tracks here—recorded in Sydney and New Orleans with Malcolm Burn, a colleague of Daniel Lanois—are murky and ambiguous. “Underwater” is sleek and burbling, a homemade potion equally connected to Wilco and The Doors. Burn’s atmospheric production elevates songs like “Common Ground,” “Barest Degree," and “In the Rain,” the last of which features a stunning falsetto vocal from longtime howler Peter Garrett. While the pulsating “Bring on the Change” qualifies as one of the band’s biggest and most exciting political anthems, the album's best moments are closer to American folk and country music. Emmylou Harris duets with Garrett on the quietly poignant “Home,” while the harmonica-tinged “One Too Many Times” might be the simplest, most unadorned song the Oils have ever made, which also makes it one of the best.

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Ratings and Reviews

3.8 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

tbird05 ,

underrated

the album does not come across as forcefully as previous efforts but it is still solid. Garrett's emotive singing always brings to light what is weighing on his mind. It is a bit mellower than others but artists have a cyclical nature to them. Common Ground is a song that many people not just music fans could take a minute and listen to it. You never know, it just might make them think

DBCinCA ,

Fill in your Oils collection

If you like Midnight Oil, and don't have this album yet, get it. If you barely know Midnight Oil beyond 1987, this album is as good a place as any to jump in. There aren't any weak tracks on the album, and as another reviewer noted, there a couple of their "softer" songs here to enjoy, giving the overall album a touch less anger than something like "Diesel and Dust" or "Redneck Wonderland." Among these tunes, "Home" is probably the biggest surprise on the album, and though you won't hear her voice on the iTunes sample, Emmylou Harris provides a nice guest vocal. Yes, Emmylou Harris. If you're looking for the obligatory rock anthem, check out "Bring on the Change" and if you like some of those old instrumentals they used to do (on "10, 9, 8..." and "Red Sails..."), then you'll like "Gravelrash" - which has a great riff, lots of buildup and layers that you can't appreciate from the 30 second sample.

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