Today, I’m taking a chance and reviewing Eskimo Joe’s new offering. To start off, I’d like to say that I think that Eskimo Joe are one of the best Australian bands of the last decade and this is because their albums don’t have any bad songs. The band’s new album had bad songs and ones that where not up to the usual standards of the band, and this really disappointed me.
‘Inshalla’ is the fourth album from Perth band Eskimo Joe. It follows up the wonderful release, ‘Black Fingernails, Red Wine’, and that’s not an easy feat. As I mentioned before, the first few times I listened to it, I didn’t enjoy it at all, and you could even say I hated it, basically because it promised so much with the first single ‘Foreign Land’, and I didn’t think the album was as good as it could have been. Since then though, it has grown on me, don’t get me wrong, it’s still not close to their last two albums, but it is solid, and this is helped by the fact that it starts with an amazing song and finishes with an amazing song. As you will probably find out, the middle of the album is where it falls away.
The shining light from ‘Inshalla’ is the opening track ‘Foreign Land’, using an eight second loop of a sample of a traditional Turkish song. It sees the band tracking new ground and really shows that they’re willing to try new things. The guitar is really effective on the track as well and gets a hold of you at the solo. The song also blends in some really heavy 70’s rock moments, it’s weird and kind of out of place, but there is a point where they use a very metal/rock chord progression; I’m not really sure if I’m a fan of it, but it does give the song something different.
It really falls away after the first song though, the title track isn’t bad and has its merits but other songs like ‘Losing Friends Over Love’, ‘Please Elise’ and ‘Losing My Mind’, just don’t deserve to be on the album, they either don’t fit or are too “samey”. The other songs are solid but aren’t anything special. Maybe they would have fitted on another album, but on ‘Inshalla’ it doesn’t fit with what the band are doing at the moment.
The final track, ‘Morning Light’ proves to be a wonderful finish to an otherwise indifferent album. Largely acoustic it starts with a sole guitar and then a sorrowful and solemn voice comes in. I love the track and it one of Eskimo Joe’s best to date, it’s a real shame that the album wasn’t better than it was, because it starts with such promise and ends with such beauty. If only the middle had more memorable moments.
I’m not going to wholeheartedly recommend this album, but I am going to say that it has enough to make it an album that isn’t one that’s going to end up on a large heap of other CD’s. Despite the fact that it’s very up & down, the ups are good enough to balance out the downs.
‘Inshalla’ is an album that is average, not bad, but not good, so in the end, I’ll give it a generous 6/10.