Review Summary: Eskimo Joe deliver another safe and solid performance. As expected.
When Perth rock act Eskimo Joe released Black Fingernails, Red Wine
in 2006, it's fair to say it took many people by surprise. While they had achieved success and garnered faint attention as creators of solid, catchy pop rock up to that point, the arrival of their third album well and truly cemented them as a consistent performer that demanded respect. While the album revelled slightly more in style than substance (something which Inshalla
unashamedly shares), the strength of songwriting apparent throughout forced you to label the band as anything other than unreliable.
True to form, Inshalla
arrives on the scene after a three year wait and delivers in very nearly the same way its predecessor did, the only difference this time being a weight of expectation. Considering this, it's no surprise that Inshalla
treads safer water than anything else the band have done - remarkable given they have treaded relatively safe water since their beginnings. There is nothing here that hasn't been attempted before, whether it be by Eskimo Joe or anything in their older brothers' vinyl collections.
Sugary moments like the The Sound of Your Heart
and the cute Falling For You
are predictable yet adorable, while hopeful single Don't Let Me Down
recalls INXS and Icehouse even more than their last album was accused of. With it's shouting harmonies and seemingly synthesised percussion, it proves an obvious tip of the hat to their idols and perhaps a cheeky response to those who so vehemently accused Black Fingernails
of treading too close to its influences.
Things get serious with the string assisted ballad Childhood Behaviour
, while opening single Foreign Land
pays reverence to late actor Heath Ledger with Temperley claiming that he "smells the blood of an Australian"
over an intrumentally commanding track. The title track also poses as a possible single choice, with its irresistable melody and a shout along chorus that would surely reach as many people as some of the band's past singles have done before.
has flaws - which it does - it is certainly guilty of losing a little steam in the final stretch, with the last section of tracks tending to meld into one. The album as a whole is perfectly inoffensive however, and Eskimo Joe get away with it by simply sticking to what they do best, and having its audience never expect anything more. It's a desirable position for a band to be in, but Eskimo Joe have earnt it through quiet consistency and a general ability to hang around and deliver the goods. Inshalla
certainly delivers the goods.