AFTER 18 years between releases Midnight Oil were never going to return without a passionate issue to fuel their indignant rage and emotional power.
They found that issue in the 2017 Uluru Statement From The Heart, which called for constitutional change to recognise the First Peoples of Australia and provide them with a voice inside parliament.
The Makarrata Project isn't so much a Midnight Oil record, but a collaborative mini-album focused on educating and highlighting the issues and stories of Indigenous Australia.
The Oils have called in many of Australia's finest Indigenous artists such as Dan Sultan, Jessica Mauboy, Kev Carmody, Troy Cassar-Daley and Gurrumul to lend their talents to the project.
The seven-track record opens with the explosive call to arms of First Nation and Gadigal Land, the latter featuring a driving bass line, a blast of horns and a Martin Rotsey guitar riff reminiscent of Don't Wanna Be The One.
Ballads have never been vocalist Peter Garrett's strongest suit and Change The Date plods along mournfully despite its good intentions.
The Makarrata Project's more reflective moments land with greater impact when emerging Indigenous singer Alice Skye is given the floor on the beautiful Terror Australia when she sings, "you can't talk about the future if you're running from the past", over Jim Moginie's sparse piano.
Elsewhere, there's the country-folk of Desert Man, Desert Woman sung by Frank Yamma and the folk-rock of Wind In My Head where Garrett teams up with Carmody and Sammy Butcher on a gorgeous melody that wouldn't sound out of place on a Go-Betweens record.
The record ends with the almost seven-minute Uluru Statement From The Heart/Come On Down where a variety of Indigenous voices recite the Uluru Statement over an ambient soundscape.
It's a powerful end to a powerful return for Midnight Oil. Come On Down eases the impact in favour of a poppy singalong, but the message has been delivered. Midnight Oil are back shining a light on issues the mainstream often overlooks.