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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