Sound — 8
Powderfinger are an australian 5 piece and Internationalist is their 1998 album which preceded the more well known 'Oddyssey Number Five'. The band is often described as being a Bowie influenced REM, and I hear some late red hot chili peppers in some of the slow, soulful ballads on this album (they seem to get lumped into the 'alternative rock' category). Having three guitarists helps powderfinger to have a strong rhythm section but their is no great instrumental talent involved in this album. The key to their sound is the great interraction between the oustanding vocals and the music. The production on this album is not as polished as in some of their more recent albums, but this allows the vocals to stand out above the slightly faded, distorted music.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics on this album seem to describe the everyday life faced by people living in modern cities. They often paint pictures of people living in disillusionment: "The people are frustrated," "Framed by a picket fence and salary" with a hint of escapism in songs such as 'Passenger'. Vocalist Bernard Fanning is an amazing talent with a more melodic voice than many rock singers (he has a succesfull solo career in australia) and in this album there is a feeling of resignation and sadness in his voice particularly as he wonders "Why should I complain when everybody else is overworked and underpaid?" The music complies with this tone in much of the album although the three guitars combine effectively in some heavy, upbeat songs such as 'Belter' and 'Don't Wanna Be Left Out'.
Overall Impression — 9
this album is similar to other albums by powderfinger, with perhaps more emphasis on softer rock songs. The opening five tracks are amazing with 'Already Gone' and 'Passenger' standing out. But the great thing about this album is the lack of any 'Filler' songs. The small (5 second) interludes between some songs (I think they are meant to sound like someone tuning between radio stations) are slightly annoying but if I lost this album I would definitely buy it again, although their greatest hits album is tempting. A must have for all - Powderfinger fan or not.