A Song is a City - Eskimo Joe
Russell Degnan

Eskimo Joe are remarkable for their ability to go missing between albums. They first appeared in the late 90s, releasing a couple of EPs before a silence that made me think they'd split up, or just not gone anywhere, despite the talent they had on display. Then they appeared again in 2001 with Girl. Their debut was typical of late-90s Australian bands but stood out for the subtlety of some of the tunes. Once again though, they went missing for a few years.

If they are just taking time to write their new material then it is time well spent because their latest album -- released last year -- is pretty good. Second albums are often just polished versions of debuts, and this is no different. Often the problem with a second album is that, if the first album consists of every good song a band has written since they started, then the second is every good song since their first album. It is a therefore a harder test of a band's song writing talent. Given that, you can excuse a bit of drift towards the end; the first six songs are substantially stronger than the second six, mostly because I get sick of listening to the same damn beat over and over.

Listen to the songs that are a bit different in melody and rhythm though, and you have some real quality, and lots of potential holes Eskimo Joe can (and hopefully will) explore while we wait for their next album,

Track Highlights
Come Down - Who starts an album with a 'come down'? A good test of the vocals that builds up beautifully. It could have been employed so much better at the end of the album though.
From the Sea - The first song with the standard beat, but the best of them. Very Coldplay.
Life is Better With You - Nice harmonies, but a good minute too long, particularly on song 3.
A Song is a City - Interesting piano-based verses and rock choruses. Probably the best song.
I'm So Tired - Dreamy, gorgeous song that could have been longer and should have closed the album.

Finer Things 30th October, 2005 23:05:29   [#]