Australia. It's a bloody continent! And it's had its share of "hits" and "misses." The "hits" include INXS, Midnight Oil and the best of the lot, AC/DC. The "misses" could fill a web site. But just for reference there's the Little River Bland and Hair Supply. Weird place Australia.
It was common for '70s "starter groups" to cover the Rolling Stones, the Doors, Led Zeppelin and Steppenwolf. To find a group following that course in the mid '90s was something else. But that was where Powderfinger went.
Powderfinger started as a trio in '92 taking their name from a Neil Young song. The group soon grew from a trio to a quintet with the addition of a second guitarist and singer Bernard Fanning. They promoted themselves relentlessly around their native Brisbane and recorded an EP. A second EP with the song "Reap What You Sow" got them signed by Polygram. In '94 the group released their debut album "Parables For Wooden Ears." Sonically, the CD was more Metal and it didn't really catch on. However, it did put Powderfinger on the road. The far more accessible breakthrough album "Double Allergic," with "Pick You Up" and "DAF" (the song's opening chord progression) rolled out in '96. The even more popular "Internationalist" containing "The Day You Come" came out two years later. "My Happiness," with a guitar sound reminiscent of The Edge's '90s work, was one of the featured tracks on their '01 effort "Odyssey Number Five."
Next up were a pair of compilations. The first, "These Days: Powderfinger Live In Concert" was double DVD, directed by Gregor Jordan, with concert and acoustic performances.
The '05 release of "Fingerprints: The Best Of Powderfinger" preceded a band hiatus with members embarking on side projects (Fanning put out a successful and award winning solo album "Tea & Sympathy") or adding kids to their families (Darren Middleton and Ian Haug did that).
Together again, Powderfinger unfurled their sixth studio album, "Dream Days At The Hotel Existence," in Australia. The set did well despite one music publication calling it "Powderfinger's first dull album." Australian tours followed with the set being lauded at the Australian music awards - nominated for "Album of the Year", "Best Rock Album" and "Best Group" (also the song "Lost And Running" received nominations for "Single of the Year" and "Best Video"). Powefinger lost every category to Silverchair.
Well, sometimes you just have to press on. In '08, "Dream Days At The Hotel Existence" was issued in the U.S.
1994 Parables For Wooden Ears
1996 Double Allergic
2000 Odyssey Number Five
2003 Vulture Street
2007 Dream Days at the Hotel Existence
2009 Golden Rule
Powderfinger toiled in their native Australia for several years producing EPs and albums. The best, "Double Allergic" and "Internationalist" are available as imports. Both reached platinum status down under. "Odyssey Number Five," actually Powderfinger's fourth studio album, shows off Bernard Fanning's strong, soulful vocals and Middleton and Haug's first-rate guitar work.
A combination of ballads, acoustic Rock and some straight shots mark Powderfinger's return with "Dream Days At The Hotel Existence."
The group gets political on "Black Tears," a song that powerfully condemns the injustice suffered by aboriginal people. The other ballads are good but lack "Black Tears' emotional commitment.
They exercises their natural '70's acoustic/Folk leanings (via Neil Young) on "I Don't Remember" and "Lost And Running."
Powderfinger generally tosses off their debut CD, "Parables For Wooden Years." The album is sonically denser and more riff-Rock oriented than subsequent releases. But they had to start somewhere, and this is it.