A reunion I’m crossing my fingers for
It's a nice surprise when an artist returns - time off, you weren't sure you'd ever hear from them again...recently Massive Attack released an EP, the first of a handful of planned new releases. Okay, it's just four tracks - but it's a nice reminder of the vestiges of the Massive Attack sound; a teaser, hinting at more. There will be more. Another EP, a full-length album too...
Some bands don't get it right - they return and it's not right. The Pixies album (based around earlier test-the-waters EPs) was a disaster as far as I'm concerned. Just awful. But the music that band made belongs to a time and place. Their reunion, trading on "the hits" for longer than they were ever a band in the first place seemed to prove that.
Some bands will never reform. And then others - the ones we think will never reform - do. It's usually underwhelming. It's usually not the right move. But sometimes a band gets it right.
I've been thinking a lot, lately, about how I'd like Midnight Oil to come back. To play again - and record again.
I love Midnight Oil - and I wrote that blog post highlighted there about five years ago. An odd time to be writing about Midnight Oil perhaps, but I wanted to put it down on the file that I was a fan. Was - and still am a fan.
And so I've been thinking about them now because - well - I've just read Rob Hirst's memoir/travel-diary. An old book, but still worth reading. And I've just cracked the spine on Peter Garrett's memoir. Just an intro behind me but I'm looking forward to reading this one...
So that's - of course - sent me back to the music. To my ears they never really made a bad album - and certainly they had an incredible run across the 1980s. But the last handful of records they recorded (from 1993's Earth and Sun and Moon to 2002's Capriconia - a live album and greatest hits comp in there too) were very strong. At the least they all had a few great songs on them.
That early period is most exciting to hear now, the late 1970s through to the early 1980s. I've just connected with the Place Without A Postcard album, for example. Terrific record.
Garrett's move to politics put the band on permanent hiatus, the members heading off in all directions to play music elsewhere, side-projects becoming main gigs and so on (Hirst's Backsliders have recorded at least 13 records - the one I heard a year or so ago was terrific, some of the earlier ones, I don't know all of them, are great too).
The memoir from Peter Garrett feels like a full stop, a closing off of the political career and of course that first phase of music.
Does that mean a Midnight Oil reunion is in the wings? Complete speculation - nothing more. But I'd love to see it. I'd love to hear it. I never saw the band live - always wished I had. And Capricornia was a great record, but I know they could follow it up. Also, re-watching the tour documentary around the Black Fella/White Fella shows (a worthwhile addition to the Deluxe version of the Diesel and Dust album) had me thinking that their songs still tell us things we need to hear; sadly, I guess, they're saying things that haven't quite been heard.
We could use a voice like the Midnight Oil one in music once again.
Most of their records are never that far from my stereo, the best of their songs are with me in my heart. I'd sure love to hear more music one day from this terrific band.
So, if not Midnight Oil for you, what reunion are you crossing your fingers for?
You can also check out Off the Tracks for The Vinyl Countdown, reviews and other posts.