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Ghosts of the Past

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Album Review

Self-described as their "dirty 30s" record by frontman Kavyen Temperley, West Australian rock trio Eskimo Joe's fifth studio album, Ghosts of the Past, echoes the band's journey into early middle age with their most reflective and personal album to date. The infectious handclaps and folky melodies of "Words of Avoidance" provide an upbeat contrast to the serious subject matter of domestic violence, the chiming "When We Were Kids" is a rose-tinted lament to the excesses of youth, while the jaunty piano hooks and gentle strings on "Just Don't Feel" accompany a rather ponderous questioning of the band's role in today's industry. While the teenage angst-ridden themes which dominated the likes of 2001 debut Girl and 2004 follow-up A Song Is a City have been replaced by a more mature and nostalgic outlook on life, the music remains disappointingly familiar. There are some interesting ideas on show, from the hushed harmonies of the title track, to the screeching violins on infidelity tale "Itch," to the '80s synth beats on "Love Is a Drug." But as forewarned by the Edge-esque riffs and impassioned chorus of opener "Gave It All Away," any flickers of invention soon give way to their stadium-chasing ambitions, with the influence of U2, INXS, and Coldplay glaringly obvious throughout all of its 11 tracks, (with the exception of the gorgeous, orchestral, alt-country finale "Sky's on Fire"). Indeed, anyone hoping that the switch to their own Dirt Diamonds Productions label would inspire a radical new sense of invention will be left sorely disappointed, as Ghosts of the Past is very much business as usual, and while its melodic, radio-friendly sensibilities are unquestionable, it's a shame that the band couldn't have transferred some of the subtleties and emotion of their lyrics into the music as well. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi


Formed: 1997 in Fremantle, Western Australia, Aus

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Aussie rockers Eskimo Joe formed in Fremantle in 1997. Singer/bassist Kavyen Temperly and drummer Joel Quartermain, who previously collaborated in the band Freud's Pillow, recruited guitarist Stuart MacLeod to enter the Australian National Campus Band Competition and, after claiming top honors, won a slot at the annual Livid Festival as well as a trip to a recording studio. The session yielded Eskimo Joe's 1998 debut EP, Sweater, earning significant airplay on the influential Australian radio outlet...
Full Bio
Ghosts of the Past, Eskimo Joe
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  • $15.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music
  • Released: 12 August 2011
  • Parental Advisory

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