Although embracing punk energy and critiquing an original, melodic and intelligent style, Midnight Oil aren’t a band whose attention is widely based around its instrumentation.

In fact, lead singer turned respected politician Peter Garrett had countless well informed opinions that drove the band to stardom while only stopping off to fill up on rising issues within Australia.

While addressing political issues such as mistreatment of Aborigines, environmental distress, imperialism, and nuclear weapon insanity; Garrett led the band’s desire to dodge the trendy causes of the times and isntead reflect honestly on the real issues facing his country.

Adding to their legacy by basically revolutionising recyclable CD casings with their 1990 release Blue Sky Mining and constantly increasing political awareness, the band have more than a leg to stand on.

As various die-hards will argue, The Oils had it from day one – yet references within their self titled debut album were more hedonistic and less political minded in comparison to later releases, but we all know conventional love songs and the odd mention of drinking whiskey are damn easy to relate to, and these guys have been there too.

Their latest Best Of, entitled Essential Oils, is a a 36 track, two disc compilation that expresses (in chronological order) the growth and personal depth of the band while outdoing 2006’s Best Of Both Worlds.

Beginning with ‘Run by Night’ from their 1978 debut, the set spans across the group’s 25 year studio catalogue, which as drummer Rob Hirst explains on their website – also directly relates back to the bands diversity of production.

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Noting that the tracks chosen for the compilation, “show the dynamics and diversity of the tracks we recorded in studios in Australia and overseas, and chart the band’s changing sounds, stories and memberships over a 25 year period.”

From the progressive new wave influence of their first album to the alternative politically minded jolt of 2002’s Capricornia, the group’s diversity yet evident consistency is set in stone more than ever before. Thankfully containing chart topping and cult followed singles such as ‘Beds Are Burning’, ‘Blue Sky Mine’ and ‘Power & The Passion’, the coupling of classic studio renditions and an impressive remastering technique overshadows any negative stereotypes over a cash-in.

If physical passion and expression curb your interest toward a band, it’s obvious that no bald head bounces cooler than that of the intelligent and well respected Peter Garret, and as the two cd compilation proves, few bands that are this smart – will ever rock this hard.

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