Midnight Oil

Redneck Wonderland - Columbia - 1998

Tracks: 1. Concrete / 2. Redneck Wonderland / 3. Cemetery In My Mind / 4. Comfortable Place On The Couch / 5. Safety Chain Blues / 6. Return To Sender / 7. Blot / 8. The Great Gibber Plain / 9. / White Skin Black Heart / 10. Seeing Is Believing / 11. What Goes On / 12. Drop In The Ocean


This is not exactly an easy listening album. Midnight Oil wrote and recorded in their heyday during late eighties and early 1990s on albums such as "Blue Sky Mining" and "Earth and Sun and Moon" many beautiful and catchy songs. However, there has always been elements of ugliness in the band’s way of expression, especially characterized by frontman Peter Garrett's vocals that often stood in stark contrast to the harmonious and catchy choruses. This, of course, is naturally linked to the group's lyrics which often have much to say in terms of political and critical messages.

Not least on "Redneck Wonderland", the group has a lot in mind and the ”ugliness” may be more apparent than before. This does not mean that the final result is bad, just don’t expect an ”easy listening” album. Many fans actually saw the album as a step back on track after its predecessor "Breathe", which many felt lacked inspiration and did not live up to group's usual standards. Personally, I think, however, that "Breathe" has a fine and worthy place in Midnight Oil catalog, and I will also rate it higher than "Redneck Wonderland".

"Redneck Wonderland" certainly has fine songs, and you definitely can not talk about lack of inspiration and enthusiasm, as on most tracks fired vigor on both guitar and vocals.

Although the group is experimenting with new and differents kinds expression, you are never in doubt that you are in the company of Midnight Oil, and some songs could easily have been taken from one of group better known albums. "T he Great Gibber Plain " and "Cemetary in my Mind" are two of the more "classic-Midnight Oil" type of songs, and also my personal favorites.

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