Midnight Oil – Resist (Album Review)

Midnight Oil – Resist (Album Review)

When you think of 1980s era Rock music with a cause, chances are U2 and Bruce Springsteen come to mind, but perhaps the most socially vocal of all was Australia’s Midnight Oil. Always wearing their feelings on their sleeves, songs like “Power and the Passion,” “The Dead Heart,” and “Beds Are Burning” kept no secrets of where Midnight Oil stood. They have proudly stood for environmental and social activism from their beginning, so it should come as no surprise that their latest studio album, Resist, is yet another call for action. 

Led by the unmistakable leading voice of Peter Garrett, Midnight Oil had officially reformed in 2016 with the classic lineup of Rob Hirst (drums), Jim Moginie (guitars), and Martin Rotsey (bass). Touring the world to critical acclaim in 2017, they released mini album The Makarrata Project in 2020 to equally positive reviews, and now they make a relatively quick turn around with Resist, released on February 18, 2022. 

The thirteenth Midnight Oil album, Resist, consists of 12 new songs that span just over an hour of highly potent Politic Rock. As mentioned these Australians have never been shy about raising awareness about environmental issues and the political hypocrisy that infects the entire globe. So while The Makarrata Project’s primary focus was on indigenous issues in Australia, Resist lyrically turns more toward the environment as the band battle for preservation and conservation. 

A war for the future of the planet that Midnight Oil has been chanting about for decades, the message is similar, although the tone has changed slightly. Judging by the context of songs like “Rising Seas,” it feels Garrett has resigned to society’s failure to address the issues at hand. Meanwhile, Midnight Oil drives on heavily with the Punk-textured “The Barka-Darling River,” plead for unity on “At the Time of Writing” and “To the Ends of the Earth,” but also diversify with the more melancholy and atmospheric “Tarkine,” as well as with “We Resist.” Then there are songs like “Reef” which is flawlessly Midnight Oil, the haunting “We Are Not Afraid,” and the final bellow for real change with “Last Frontier.”  

Overall Resist is a very strong effort from Midnight Oil. It is passionate, sincere, and extremely direct in the message it is trying to convey. It is true, some might not be into politically charged music, but they should at least keep an open minded because that is what helps us grow. However, politics aside, if you get to the core of what Midnight Oil is saying it is about our future, and not just the environment, but also how we treat one another as human beings. Additionally, this album is as tight and punchy musically as anything this band has ever done before. Setting out on their farewell tour, some are saying this could be the very last Midnight Oil album ever recorded…even though the members have expressed they are still open to recording in the future. Only time will tell, but with all our futures still yet to be written, Cryptic Rock gives Resist 4 out of 5 stars. 

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