Eskimo Joe
Black Fingernails, Red Wine


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jim USER (23 Reviews)
February 7th, 2007 | 35 replies | 9,920 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Indie-pop to stadium-rock. All in an album's work for these mainstream Oz rockers.

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

Any seasoned wine critic will tell you that the renowned drink of the gods will only get better with age. So perhaps this sprightly pop-rock act from Perth, Australia were exercising a hint of irony when they half-named their latest effort after the celebrated potion, as the band’s third record Black Fingernails, Red Wine proves that the notion of age enhancing quality is not just true of drink – but also music acts.

The release of Eskimo Joe’s A Song Is a City in 2004 saw a maturing act – who had previously gained fame off the back of a hit EP – take their light-rock sound into somewhat deeper territory. The short, catchy songs still remained, but there was a clear development made since their mostly throwaway debut Girl in 2001. The release of Black Fingernails, Red Wine in June 2006 however, saw the band completing the ageing process they had been undergoing since their inception into the Australian music industry, as the group traded simplistic production for haunting lyrics and ethereal pianos. Here, the band finally proves they’re here to stay, and not just to fill the numbers on ARIA night.

Mostly instrumental opener Comfort You begins things with a clear message. As the vaporous piano meets Stuart MacLeod’s guitar, sounds reminiscent of classic stadium rock hit – and hit even harder when the booming drums finally weigh in. It’s epic and grandiose, but it’s still somehow pop. This is a band telling its audience that they’ve done away with the immature jingles of old and are only interested in serving a set you can really sink your teeth into. Second track New York underlines the maturity, with the eerie piano hinting at being an album regular.

Lead singer Kavyen Temperley’s voice has matured little since the previous record, but has always been a unique and easily identifiable style which shines through most of their work. Beating Like a Drum is a thumping track which is only reinforced by Temperley’s eerie vocals, while his efforts on closer How Does It Feel are borderline spine-tingling. It’s prone to sound a little gimmicky at times, but it’s one of the factors that has contributed to Eskimo Joe’s definable sound, and certainly helps set the band apart from other mainstream rock acts, which is only ever a good thing.

The production is one factor that has improved since their previous outing, with an immediately noticeable “epic” approach that truly screams stadium rock. The drums are thicker, Temperley’s bass shows more prominence, and the aforementioned piano binds it together in a package that could easily be labeled as Muse Down Under. However, these are still pop songs and tracks like the adorable Breaking Up and stellar single Sarah (which does indeed sound unashamedly similar to the main theme from Never Ending Story) juxtapose this epic theme to great effect. With an attitude like this, I’d be surprised if they weren’t filling arenas in a few years time.

The band’s scope in terms of themes and lyrical content has also widened dramatically, with the likes of moving ballad London Bombs showing the band can take on world issues, as opposed to the often immaterial themes prevalent on previous albums. The title track also struggles with the idea of religion and it’s often detrimental effects on society.

“The argument over god continues
In this house
All of us stand and point our fingers
At the ground
All of us stand and point our fingers

Straight down…”


It’s hard to imagine this is the same band that wrote the immeasurably dorky Sweater, which struggled with nothing more than the idea of an old man’s clothes.

But maybe this isn’t the same Eskimo Joe. Sure, the same members are intact, and the insanely catchy pop numbers still prove the ultimate key to the band’s success, but the group’s approach to the art of music has slightly tilted towards something a little more advanced – a little more cerebral. And for those of us who would rather a more intellectual pop methodology, we should welcome it with open ears.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Auldy
February 7th 2007



351 Comments


nice one man... saw them at big day out, and was impressed cause usually i dont have much respect for them, but kinda changed my view a bit with their live show.

.now get out there and review some You Am I albums! you do all the other cool aussie bands, theres like no you am i albums on here

JumpTheF**kUp
February 7th 2007



2710 Comments


I really don't like Eskimo Joe. Just not my style. Review's good of course.

I may review Augie March's new one some day soon.


EDIT:

nothing more that the idea


I think you meant than, but it's a minor error.This Message Edited On 02.07.07

Ephex
February 7th 2007



730 Comments


Eskimo Joe has got to be one of the best band names ever. This Message Edited On 02.07.07

samthebassman
February 7th 2007



2164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good album, very boring live.

Jim
February 8th 2007



5110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the pick-up Jumpy :lol: I'll edit that.

I wonder if that was the reason for my mystery neg...

Thanks for the too comments guys. And I don't really have much You Am I material (even though I should), so I can't really review them. What album's would you recommend?

trustxdialect
February 8th 2007



1502 Comments


Never heard of these guys, but I'm intrigued.

What's up with negging good reviews lately?

LittleTinGodess
February 8th 2007



133 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

samthebassman i could not agree with you less. This album is was a big disappointment for me coming off the excellent A Song Is A City. I've seen em live 3 times and they are way better on stage. Catchy Indie Pop Rock beats try hard stadium rock hands down. This Message Edited On 02.08.07

Jim
February 8th 2007



5110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I caught them at the Big Day Out and they were really excellent.
I really likes A Song Is a City too, it was the album that got me into them. But I guess I'm a sucker for the 80's stadium style
INXSkimo Joe as Tony Martin coined :lol:

unbornchikkenvoices
September 27th 2007



78 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"pressure, come on down"

ruined it for me.

every song is great except for the blisteringly (yes, a song can give you blisters) average, This Is Pressure. Beating Like a Drum is only slightly better. but they are the only let downs.

How Does it Feel is classic.

A Song is a City is better than this album in most ways, though it depends on your tastes in myoozique. This kinda reminds me of Modest Mouse mixed with Muse, but A Song is a City reminds me of Modest Mouse mixed with The Beatles.

ed. just listened to Suicide Girl... probably shouldn't have...This Message Edited On 09.27.07

hutchison707
September 27th 2007



13 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

eskimo joe are great,
can't wait for any new stuff they come out with
good review mate

hammet_ownz
August 6th 2008



42 Comments


Pretty good.

Saw them at the Albert Hall in Tassie and they were close to flawless. Second time I've seen a near perfect show there. The Living End nearly took the roof off a year earlier.

Good review man.

Douglas
June 3rd 2009



9098 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pumped for the new album? Heck yes I am.

Digging: James Vincent McMorrow - Post Tropical

Streetvulture
June 3rd 2009



361 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I am. The single was pretty impressive.

Captain North
June 3rd 2009



6784 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

New album is pretty decent. Second half is better than the first.

Streetvulture
June 3rd 2009



361 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think I'll wait till I get to Aus to buy it, but I'll download it here. I'm about 95 percent sure I won't find it in stores here...


Douglas
June 3rd 2009



9098 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

new album is great, almost a 4.5 for me

Streetvulture
June 3rd 2009



361 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

sweet. I look forward to it, kinda up to my ears in new music at the moment.

Douglas
June 3rd 2009



9098 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Same here, though I made an ecception to get my hands on Inshalla earlier then other albums.

Captain North
June 3rd 2009



6784 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's 'exception'. It's really no where near a 4.5 imo. It's not nearly cohesive or emotional enough.

Streetvulture
June 3rd 2009



361 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

To be honest, I only heard about the album a few weeks ago so it wasn't at the top of my "to-listen" list. I'll get to it eventually! I'll have to because this band is awesome.



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