After wondering how we could sleep while our “Beds Are Burning” and learning that electric guitar and harmonica are a great way to shine light on the exploitation of “Blue Sky Mine” workers, Australia’s Midnight Oil caused my “just-starting-to-think-about-the-wider-world” brain and musical heart to blow open at the same time. As a 12-year-old in 1993, I was primed for whatever the Oils did next.
I came on board just after their full-on punk roots opened up into a wider sound on Diesel and Dust and Blue Sky Mining, and so the cassette for Midnight Oil’s eighth record Earth and Sun and Moon got a lot of plays.
While it bafflingly (to me) never makes any lists of their most influential work, Earth and Sun and Moon showed me—a budding teenage musician—that acoustic instruments like mandolins and guitars could fit with tremolo electrics and loud, excited drumming, and that songs about political action and conscience could be melodic and utterly full of life. The texture of the instrumentation, along with the interplay between Peter Garrett’s lead vocals and the band’s incredibly active background vocals, captured my imagination at the time.
Now, reflecting on the album as an adult, I have a tremendous appreciation for how the band could critique their country’s place in world politics while deeply loving the terrain and people of their “lucky land.” That ability to be self-critical, loving, melodic, and full of life makes Earth and Sun and Moon a record that continues to change my life.
Cameron Hood and his Ryanhood partner Ryan Green return to the REP Theater in Seaside Thursday, Nov. 7. Get your tickets at LoveTheREP.com.