Midnight Oil, Oils on the Water

Elisabeth Vincentelli

By Elisabeth Vincentelli

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Oils on the Water

Midnight Oil

Growing out of the New South Wales pub circuit, Midnight Oil was Australia's answer to U2 in the late '80s and early '90s. This live album (recorded at an invitation-only show on a tiny island in the middle of Sydney Harbor in January, 1985) documents the band right before it broke internationally. Okay, so you won't get the 1987 hit "Beds Are Burning," but on the other hand the Oils are still in a lean, hungry mode, and all their political preoccupations — for causes such as nuclear disarmament, aboriginal rights and nature conservation — are already firmly in place. Fueled by an unmistakable sense of urgency and dominated by Peter Garrett's passionate vocals, the band shines bright on this recording's anthemic numbers.