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Eskimo Joe
Black Fingernails Red Wine
Rykodisc
www.eskimojoe.net


The quick and easy thing would be to write Eskimo Joe off as yet another Coldplay rip-off band writing beautiful songs with nice piano pieces interspersed to add depth to the tunes. But that would simply be a cop-out. There is more depth and realism on Black Fingernails Red Wine than merely comparing the band to the current flavor should allow. The songs are varied and hold hints of bands as varied as Icehouse, Simple Minds, Jackopierce, Fury In The Slaughterhouse, and Squeeze. While the album builds from the slow beauty of "Comfort You" to the near thunder of the title track the music is never far from laying just low enough to be classified as background… never does the music overpower or detract from anything going on around it. Normally this may not be a good thing, but in the case of Eskimo Joe, this laid-back groove is perfect and creates the atmosphere of relaxing pop that would be perfect for chilling out on a cool autumn day… on the deck with a nice warm cup of coffee in hand. This is European style pop at its finest. Crisp guitars, throaty bass and tight drums lay the foundation for the floating pianos and dynamic vocals that carry the record from start to finish seamlessly. There are no highlights on this record; every song is as good as the last. The record maintains a high plateau, never getting so loud as to be distracting, never falling so quiet as to be forgotten. These are songs to be felt as much as heard, but they never push you for more than you are willing to feel… so sit back, relax with a cup of tea or java, and become good friends with one of the nicest records of the year. Eskimo Joe is waiting for you.

-L. Keane


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