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Review: Peter Garrett's solo album A Version Of Now hits home


Home for good, solo for now: Peter Garrett's first solo album is energised and never just adequate.

Home for good, solo for now: Peter Garrett’s first solo album is energised and never just adequate. Photo: Maclay Heriot

Peter Garrett

A VERSION OF NOW

(Sony)

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★★★

Here are some things you will not get on Peter Garrett’s debut album.

Three-fifths of Midnight Oil: Martin Rotsey appears but Bones Hillman, Jim Moginie and Rob Hirst are otherwise occupied. Which isn’t to say you won’t recognise Oils-ian sounds and moves, and that is hardly surprising: the man has spent around 30 years in that band and quite likes what they did. The looming bassline in No Placebo, the semi-spectral oohs of Kangaroo Tail, the truncated guitar hook in Great White Shark and, well, that voice, will take you to some familiar places.

Apologies for taking a political route instead of remaining policy pure and on the sidelines: “I went of my own accord to do what I could/I got my hands dirty I had a go,” Garrett says in I’d Do It Again, whose title answers your next question. And in case you think he’s pretending some things – pink batts anyone? – didn’t happen, in Tall Trees Garrett refers to being “replete with all my foibles, no catastrophe avoided”.

Settling of scores: while the first single Tall Trees, which opens the album as an introductory statement of  “I’m back”, runs through a torrent of images that includes a line about being “like Muhammad Ali’s punching or Rupert Murdoch’s latest swag”, there’s no more naming of names and nailing of individuals. That said, you can see, if you want, a certain bespectacled prime minister, his female successor and some turbulent times in some lines such as “I saw the best of men and I saw the worse/I saw the best of woman too, from governor to nurse” and “While all the glory hunters were basking in false smiles/Twisted egos and ambitions mile after mile/I went to find a quiet place away from the madding mob/To try and make a difference get on with the job and do it again.”

And who knows, maybe his thoughts crossed the floor here: “Disconnect the alter ego/Jung and Jesus no placebo/Faust has won the war is over/Ji Xi Ping is at your shoulder”.