NOBODY could accuse Powderfinger of making career missteps. The Brisbane lads called it quits in 2010 when they were still the biggest band in the land, rather than allowing their popularity to dwindle.
The Sunsets Farewell Tour remains arguably the greatest rock'n'roll send-off Australia has seen. The five-piece played 34 sold-out shows to more than 300,000 fans. Before that Powderfinger released seven albums, including three in Internationalist (1998), Odyssey Number Five (2000) and Vulture Street (2003), that are era-defining.
But what's obvious from listening to Powderfinger's new compilation Unreleased 1998-2010 is the band wasn't always experts on judging their own material. Unreleased features 10 tracks that have never been heard outside the band and were deemed unfit for their various records and B-sides.
The oldest track is Rule Of Thumb written for Internationalist. It follows the jangly and more atmospheric sound of Powderfinger's material from that era.
Overall, Unreleased is closest in sound to the chunky '70s rock riffs of Vulture Street. Ian Haug and Darren Middleton's deliver a seething twin guitar attack on What Are You Waiting For and Diamond Ring. Lou Doimand is another rocking highlight.
The track also features Bernard Fanning's most colourful lyric of the collection when he sings about a schoolboy dispute with, "I've got a brother and he's bigger than you/ He'll give you a look and make you shake in your shoe/ If I call him down you better run far/ He'll rip off a branch and stick it straight up your arse."
I Don't Want To Be Your Problem and Wrecking Ball showcase Powderfinger's well-known pop sensibilities. The latter in particularly sweet, combining '70s folk-rock with 2000s rock dynamics.
Perhaps the most impressive part of Unreleased is its cohesiveness. That can be credited to producer Nick DiDia, who mixed the tracks off various hard drives and tapes in the band's archives.
One thing's for certain, Unreleased will only add fuel to that fire burning for a Powderfinger reformation.