I came to Eskimo Joe a bit later in the game. I was always aware of their music through the radio, but it wasn’t until the release of Inshalla that I really connected with the band. So I was pretty excited to see what they served up with their newie, Ghosts of the Past. The single “Love is a Drug” set the bar high, but sadly I’ve got mixed feelings about the disc.
It’s really hard to put my finger on exactly why I haven’t connected with this recording. It sounds gorgeous. Eskimo Joe are a talented trio, and they’re probably incapable of making bad, or even mediocre, music. This disc is really piano rich, and that gives the album an epic feel. It helps the music soar and elevates it beyond the guitar-rock the band used to deliver.
And there are some really great songs here. “Gave it All Away” is such a strong opener, with its big rock sounds and crashing drums. I loved the quirkyness of “Echo,” which has one of the most unusual and compelling melodies I’ve heard in some time. The title track seems destined to become a single. It’s got just the right combination of rocking riffs and melodic hooks to appeal to the MMM set.
A lot of the disc is quite big, but I prefer it when it’s less grandiose. The alt-country feel of “Just Don’t Feel,” with its acoustic guitars and rich strings, was like a breath of fresh air. And I was initially struck by the simplicity of the closer “Sky’s on Fire.” The initial portion feels like it was recorded on an eight-track in a bedroom. That lack of polish gave it a real truth, so I was disappointed when this track too became big.
Frankly I could listen to an album of the small stuff, and that might be where my problem with Ghosts of the Past lies. This album sounds incredible, but such refinement comes at the expense of some soul. The lyrics are really strong, but it’s difficult to focus on them with so much else going on. It’s interesting that Eskimo Joe gave fans a preview of this album with an acoustic tour. Personally I think that stripped back delivery would have made these songs much more compelling than the wall of sound the band’s offered here. Ghosts of the Past is far from a bad album, but it’s not quite the record it could have been.
Image source: Eskimo Joe website
They wowed crowds with their acoustic shows in May, and now Eskimo Joe are preparing to plug in for a run of gigs in September and October. The lads will be out to celebrate the release of their fifth studio album Ghosts of the Past, which hits stores on August 12.
“We’re really looking forward to taking the intimate moments from our shows in May and presenting them on a larger stage,” said the band’s frontman Kav Temperley.
If you’re intending on taking in one of the shows it’s probably worth heading to the Eskimo Joe website. For a limited time fans can order their tour ticket, a ticket and album pre-order pack, or a VIP ticket which includes a show ticket with priority venue entry, a copy of the album, and attendance at an acoustic performance and meet and greet.
Eskimo Joe will warm up at Splendour in the Grass before heading to Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia. Never fear Tasmanians and South Australians; they’ll announce dates near you in the coming weeks.
Tickets for the following shows go on sale next Monday.
14 September 2011 – Andergrove Tavern, Mackay
15 September 2011 – Magnums, Airlie Beach
16 September 2011 – Great Western Hotel, Rockhampton
17 September 2011 – Sugarland Tavern, Bundaberg
21 September 2011 – Uni Bar Wollongong, Surry Hills
22 September 2011 – The Cube, Campbelltown
23 September 2011 – Newcastle University, Newcastle
24 September 2011 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney
29 September 2011 – The Forum, Melbourne
30 September 2011 – Pier Live, Frankston
1 October 2011 – Deni Ute Muster, Deniliquin
5 October 2011 – Plantation Hotel, Coffs Harbour
6 October 2011 – Southern Cross University, Lismore
1 October 2011 – Caloundra Music Festival, Caloundra
1 October 2011 – Full Noise Festival, Townsville
1 October 2011 – Tivoli, Brisbane
1 October 2011 – The Astor, Perth
Image source: Johan @ Wikipedia Commons
Eskimo Joe’s new single “Love is a Drug” hit radio today, and the album to match is hot on its heels. We’ll see Ghosts of the Past, the fifth studio album from the Western Australian powerhouse, in stores on August 12.
Rather than keeping your ear glued to the radio you can check it out at the Eskimo Joe website. It’s also available for digital download if you’re so inclined. Personally I’m digging this song. It starts out with the sort of broodiness we heard on “Black Fingernails, Red Wine” but then turns into this soaring, melodic rock song. I’m predicting it’s going to be all over radio by week’s end.
We should hear more hooky songs on Ghosts of the Past, as it was recorded with the same team who worked on the brilliant Inshalla album. Fans will get a bit of a taste of it at next month’s Splendour in the Grass festival. If you’ve missed out on tickets for that, don’t worry. Eskimo Joe will tour the album all around the country before year’s end.
Image source: Eskimo Joe website