Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

March 30, 2011

Midnight Oil ~ Diesel And Dust

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: hard rock, electronic, new wave, progressive
Label: Columbia
Year: 1988
Home: Australia

Members: Martin Rotsey ~ guitars

Peter Gifford ~ bass/b. vocals
Robert Hirst ~ drums/b. vocals
Jim Moginie ~ guitars/keyboards
Peter Garrett ~ vocals

Additional: Warne Livesey ~ keyboards
John Ockwell ~ cello
Glad Reed ~ trombone
Jeremy Smith ~ french horn

If you can ignore not knowing the definition of holden wrecks, Warakurna, Redfern, Alice, Lasseter, the dead heart & a bullroarer ... none of which have anything to do with Alice In Wonderland, a bodily organ or a bulldozer ... this is an album worth picking up that might speak about Australian aboriginal culture & land, but ignoring the regional slang, echoes the same feelings Joni Mitchell sang in "Big Yellow Taxi" with her famous line "They paved paradise & put up a parking lot." "Beds Are Burning" brought MO to the world, pushed by frontman Peter Garrett's bald head & spine-tingling voice in an age of pretty boy hair metal bands, but its sad that few can probably name any song by them other than this single chart-topper, let alone none of their albums. I'll confess to once regularly confusing them with Britain's Depeche Mode due to similiar keyboard heavy approaches that were deliberately given a New Romantic-esque commercial touch & may or may not accurately represent the band's larger output, or even the album the single came from. Though the music is far different Diesel & Dust reminds me of Live's Secret Samadhi in the sense that both albums are as much about the message as the music. They aren't concept albums, per say, but both tour distant places - for Live it's a journey of mystical lands, while for MO it's the Australian outback - but both places have both real & fictitious aspects, while sharing a tug-of-war of good & evil. Hidden behind a pop sheen is a cynical cry for world issues no different than U2's Boy or Achtung Baby, though U2 never got too Irish for their own good. Early MO albums rocked hard but it's the ballads that have the most impact, particularly given some insteresting arrangements & instrumentation that is anything but the standard 80's power ballad of the time. It's akin to the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds where Brian Wilson layered instruments to create new sounds, here including acoustic guitars, percussion instead of normal drumming, keyboards, synthesizers, strings & occasional sound effects. The result is haunting, particularly when Peter Garrett croons slowly with eery effect. He's far from a glamorous singer with an attractive voice but it's as rough as the outback he sings about. It's an album of sadness & loss, but as sung in "The Dead Heart": "We carry in our hearts the true country/& that cannot be stolen/we follow in the steps of our ancestry/& that cannot be broken", MO aren't without hope.

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