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Black Fingernails, Red Wine

Eskimo Joe

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Album Review

There is a darker atmosphere on this album that was only hinted at on the band's previous releases. Turning to the gothic era of the '80s, you can almost smell the eye-liner as Eskimo Joe echo the Smiths, INXS and the Cure. Bizarrely, it doesn't make the album sound dated at all, the band has merely infused these influences with its own 21st century sensibilities, taking back the production reigns for, arguably, their strongest album. While there are still rock bursts of guitars, bass, and drums, the Australian trio of Kav Temperley, Joel Quartermain, and Stuart MacLeod show a heavier reliance on keyboards here, which is apparent from the opening lines of "Comfort You" until the final sustained piano notes of closing track "How Does It Feel." This is one of the main factors contributing to the moodier theme; another is the direction the lyrics have taken. The title track, one of the album's best, displays an ambivalent observation of the world around us: "The argument over God continues/In this house/All of us stand and point our fingers" and the puzzling first line of the wonderfully catchy "Sarah": "Sarah/Won't you tell me your name?" signifies a desire to lead the listener in a new direction. Previously rooting themselves in Fremantle for their 2004 album A Song Is a City, the band visit the U.S. and the U.K. for the melancholy pop of "New York" and the painful ballad "London Bombs," both well-crafted songs full of hooks (although lead singer Kav sounds like he is singing "London balms" and he "should have stayed in Baird" rather than bed). In spite of the dark mood of the album, it doesn't sink to a depressing level, as the energy of the music keeps it listenable and enjoyable. Songs like "Suicide Girl" and "Breaking Up" offer the opportunity to sing along in spite of the bleak imagery of the words. The only major misstep is the pointless "Reprise" which, as the name suggests, is just a slow instrumental reprise of "Comfort You," a track that only has three lines of repeated lyrics. Eskimo Joe have yet to deliver the album they are capable of making (the band's strength seems to be singles), but overall it's worth a listen. Though some of the material isn't instantly memorable, there is a lot of lyrical depth and a definite sense of attack and structure — something which was missing from their first two releases.

Customer Reviews

amazingly great!

This is an Austrailian band that is very popular in England and the outback. Black Fingernails, Red Wine is an absolute amazing song. the beggening is extremely strong and then it gets faster. the chorus just makes you want to sing it time after time again. 5 golden beautiful stars.

Excelente Grupo

Outstanding album from this great Australian Group - don't know why they are not popular in the US yet. Muy buena musica chatos!

The whole pie

Saw these guys play live recently and they were phenomenal!! Go see them soon, before they explode onto the scene and you're stuck seeing them with 20,000 of your closest friends. As for the album, it is full of well constructed, tight music with lots of energy. The songs have catchy hooks and well woven melodies to make for overall great listening pleasure. I rarely buy albums anymore, but this one is so full of great songs, it only makes sense to buy the whole thing!


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
Black Fingernails, Red Wine, Eskimo Joe
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  • $11.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Adult Alternative
  • Released: Jun 12, 2006

Customer Ratings