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Australian Method Series: Eskimo Joe – Black Fingernails, Red Wine

Eskimo Joe are an Australian alternative rock band that was formed in 1997 by Stuart MacLeod, on lead guitar, Joel Quartermain, on drums and guitar, and Kavyen Temperley, on bass guitar and vocals.

Their road to fame started with a University Battle of The Bands contest. They won their local campus event, won the State event and then won the National event.

Released in 2006, this album is Number three and it’s noted for having the sound of the early 1980s Australian rock movement.

From the bands point of view they wanted to make a record as if they were stadium rock band. In other words if they were like INXS, what kind of record would they make.

The band recorded “Black Fingernails, Red Wine” on the central coast of NSW’s The Grove Studios. The Grove Studios were originally known as Mangrove Studio and were formerly owned by INXS bass player Garry Gary Beers.

In Australia it was certified 4× Platinum. It went to number one and spent 62 weeks on the ARIA Charts.

I never really appreciated this album when it came out. I was heavily into Progressive Metal, Nu-Metal and Metalcore bands at the time and I was devouring bands from those genres. I heard the singles and I liked em, but didn’t invest time.

A decade later, I finally did.

Comfort You

A great pop song with a piano line that reminds me of “Speed Of Sound” from Coldplay.

As soon as the drums and the fuzzed out guitar kick in, I was hooked. It’s almost new wave, but hard rock as well.

Lyrically there’s not much to it with a simple repeating line of “I will come, come to comfort you”.

But that’s all that is needed as the music and the groove is intoxicating.

If you’re not tapping your foot and nodding your head by the end of it, check for a pulse.

New York

This song is excellent.

It’s constructed with all the right atmospherics and ambient noises, plus an emotive piano melody and Temperley’s glimmering voice powers the melody.

Hey, hey, I know it wasn’t New York
Where I lost my mind.

The opening lines. A habit will always follow you regardless of which city you wake up in.

Black Fingernails, Red Wine

This song is huge. And the hook.

Black fingernails, red wine
I wanna make you, all mine

It reminds me of Icehouse, Eurythmics and INXS.

The Chorus is arena rock.

Breaking Up

An acoustic guitar and an addictive vocal melody.

And how descriptive is “A mouthful of glass / That cuts up your words”.

Setting Sun

The song was called “Forever Young”.

U2 comes to mind but press play on this track to hear the bass playing.

If your scared about the future,
I’m scared about the past

While you’re at it, check out the guitar melody which starts at 2.32.

London Bombs

Coldplay comes to mind. And I like it.

Sarah

Killers comes to mind with a bit of Rick Springfield.

This Is Pressure

An acoustic strummed passage starts the song.

There is no romance in suffocation

Truth right there.

Beating Like A Drum

If you like INXS, you will like this song. it’s not that it sounds like the band, it just has this spirit and attitude of Michael Hutchence.

I had a lot to drink last night
Now I’m feeling old
Is there anything that I can buy
That I have not sold

I’ve grown up with a father who likes to drink a lot and an older brother who likes to drink more. And all they think about is the next drink. Lucky for me they didn’t sell stuff to feed their habit.

Reprise

It’s a short instrumental, cinematic like piece.

Press play on it to hear the emotive piano melody.

Suicide Girl

Oasis and Radiohead comes to mind.

My social suicide girl
Poison in the wall
Razors in the apple core

These lyrics are hard rock. Nikki Sixx and Rachel Bolan would be proud.

How Does It Feel

A piano riff and a Muse/Coldplay feel.

You’re gonna lose everything / How does it feel

Not the best when it happens but as time goes on, a lot better.

There isn’t a song on this album that I will skip. It’s perfect from start to finish. So if you want to experience Australian Pop Rock, press play on this.

And the band is still active releasing new music and touring. But those reviews will be in other Australian posts.

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