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Audio CD, February 19, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Since 1990's benchmark Blue Sky Mining disc, Australian agitprop rockers Midnight Oil have arguably functioned better in theory than in practice. You can't nitpick the band's politics--however left they may lean, they are at their core humanist--but while theirs is a noble cause, music, at its core, is entertainment. Tough talk about land misappropriated from aboriginals is just not what most folks crave day after day, record after record. While no one will walk away from Capricornia confusing Midnight Oil with knuckleheads like Sum 41, most will notice an appreciable softening of the edges, especially musically. Songs like the outstanding "Tone Poem," though lyrically driven by sobering ecological questions, is also notable for a bridge and chorus built on a chiming, instantly memorable guitar part. Similarly, "Under the Overpass" drapes a snippet of melody from Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" over a springy keyboard bit that Brian Wilson might have fashioned for a top-down corker. Capricornia--its title track buoyed by one of the Oil's most insistent choruses--is a rock record, but it's one with more settings than "pummel." --Kim Hughes

1. Golden Age
2. Too Much Sunshine
3. Capricornia
4. Luritja Way
5. Tone Poem
6. A Crocodile Cries
7. Mosquito March
8. Been Away Too Long
9. Say Your Prayers
10. Under The Overpass
11. World That I See
12. Poets & Slaves

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 19, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Liquid 8 Records
  • ASIN: B00005Y40M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,766 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 17, 2002
Format: Audio CD
On 2 December 2002 Midnight Oil announced that Peter Garrett would be calling it quits. That's 25 years and 14 full-length albums. That's quite a track record. I seem to recall the Beatles tried something like this when they were ready to call it quits - a "back to roots" attempt, something that resulted in Get Back and which was so bad McCartney had to crawl back to Martin on his knees.
The Oils have returned to their roots here. Watch the video on the CD to get an appreciation for what they're doing: The pan of the instruments is the same on every track. The guitar on the left is Martin, the one on the right (with occasional keyboard) is Jim, Rob's drums are out back, Bones is on the bottom, and Peter is up front. This is so effective it defies description.
Many might say Diesel and Dust is their finest; others will say it's Head Injuries. Still others no doubt like Earth and Sun and Moon; but this is arguably the best they've ever done. And what a way to end a show.
And if you've never seen these guys live, you really missed it. And I don't mean on the telly either: I mean live, preferably in a little steamy pub somewhere so Peter Garrett looms over you like the son of Boris Karloff and the precision of the guitars attacks your senses and the drums and all the rest...
The first time I saw Midnight Oil, it took the venue management fifteen minutes to get the crowd under control. I was standing with their sound engineer in the middle of this sea of people. He wasn't even phased. In the end the management had to threaten to close the place if the crowd didn't calm down. In the meantime the venue had pressured their sound system to its limits in an attempt to drown out the hooting public.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bruce H. Franks on May 26, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Longtime musical champions of the earth and its indigenous peoples, Midnight Oil built their reputation on superb songwriting, topical issues, and their legendary live shows. This version of Capricornia is no exception.Familiar Oils' themes of corporate greed, pollution of the earth, human rights, and homelessness are found throughout(no surprise here), but the music is a return to the Diesel and Dust and Blue Sky years. Crackling guitar work and a live feel make songs like "Golden Age", "Too Much Sunshine", and "Capricornia" irresistable.All the tracks are excellent, with "Tone Poem" and "Under The Overpass" other standouts. Bonus tracks are "Kiss That Girl", a typical Oils rocker with outstanding dual guitars, and "Pub With No Beer", an Australian standard. Three CD-Rom videos are "Forgotten Years", "Mosquito March", and "Luritja Way" live at Cold Chapel in 2002.I have always found the Oils' music to be uplifting and inspiring, and this album fills the bill.Never ones to back down, the Oils go out the way they came in- on their own terms. Apparently their last album, this one's a gem.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Millard on February 20, 2002
Format: Audio CD
After their last two disapointing studio efforts ("Breathe" & "Redneck Wonderland"), one might wonder if Midnight Oil were still capable of making music filled with hooks, melodies, & memorable choruses. All doubts melt away with the refreshing intro to "Golden Age", the lead track on "Capricornia". With its chiming duel guitars & melody, one can't help but be reminded of the Midnight Oil of old...the sound is earily similar to both "Diesel and Dust" and "Earth and Sun and Moon". The entire album is great, & best enjoyed when listened to as a whole rather than one track at a time. Any of the first three songs could be released as singles (Golden Age, Too Much Sunshine, Capricornia), but this album's strengths lies in its shifting mood swings from song to song. A must have for even the casual Midnight Oil fan.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Khyber900 on March 21, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Capricornia, Midnight Oil's final recording, is the band's most consistent from start to finish since Blue Sky Mining. After several listens, I think it deserves to be considered as one of 6 essential Midnight Oil records to own (along with 10,9,8..., Red Sails in the Sunset, Diesel and Dust, Blue Sky Mining, and Scream in Blue (Live)).

Warne Livesey, who produced Diesel and Dust, returns for this record, and does another outstanding job, helping to modernize and update the Midnight Oil sound for the 21st Century. Livesey subtly softens the edges of the guitar and vocal sound without sacrificing the overall power of each, or the fast pace of the songs. Guitar melodies with softer, bass pickup tones are emphasized, and subtle electronica beats and sounds are interspersed to give the record a modern feel. The volume level of this CD significantly greater than the earlier CDs, probably by 50% or so. Jim Moginie, who has been involved in writing almost every Midnight Oil song over their long career, appears to have had more free reign to let his ideas come to fruition as he initially envisioned them, rather than having the band take a demo and rework it. As a result, the band members take their lead from his guitar, and the songs have a more consistent feel and pace from beginning to end.

In another difference, the traditionally strong and loud backing vocals of Hirst, Moginie and Hillman (which are a combination of a co-lead vocal and a harmony vocal) are appropriately deemphasized in order to allow Peter Garrett the space to take center stage. Garrett has never sounded better as a lead singer, and Livesey seems to believe in Garrett's abilities more than Garrett himself or the band ever did. On many songs, it is difficult to discern the unique markers of Garrett's voice.
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