Eskimo Joe Biography
Last updated: 05/23/2011 12:00:00 PM
Everybody one has to grow up at some point. But while society’s norms suggest that each of us must pass through the door from child hood into inevitable adulthood at age eighteen – it’s never been that clearly defined. Even in the musical community, first ep's and albums are sometimes looked upon with a smiling fondness that borders on embarrassment, as musicians thank their lucky stars that they’ve finally grown up.
For Perth based three piece Eskimo Joe their time is now. Having released their debut EP ‘Sweater’ in 1998 and its follow up, their self-titled EP, just over twelve months later, Eskimo Joe spent the last half of 2000 developing the songs that would go on to become the band’s debut album. The result is ‘Girl’, and it leaves songs of sweaters and stereos behind like the sweet snap shots in your parent’s family album: Eskimo Joe is glad to be moving on.
“On our first two EPs we were definitely wearing our influences on our sleeves,” says Eskimo Joe vocalist and bass player Kav Temperley. “The album has come from a much more honest place.”
In a physical sense, that place was Melbourne’s Sing Sing studios, where Kav – with his band mates Joel Quatermain on drums and Stu MacLeod on guitar – hooked up with US producer Ed Buller [Ben Lee, Suede, Pulp] to record the twelve tracks that make up ‘Girl’.
After almost two years of consistent touring that spanned 1998 and 1999 [and even into the early stages of 2000] and involved all associated rock rites of passage, Eskimo Joe holed up in Perth, recuperated, and prepared themselves for the next step – the full length release. It was also during this time that the band undertook much of the research that would serve as the inspiration behind the album. In metaphysical terms the album’s origins are far different from the material that has preceded this release. Permeating the tone of this album is that sense of simplicity that comes as a result of the sincerity in the songwriting. Because these days Eskimo Joe is singing about what they know: being young, feeling awkward, relationships… Girls. It’s that simple.
The backing track to this newfound honesty is straight-up rock. Gone is the guitar driven juvenile pop song that typified Eskimo Joe in the early years, in it’s place a more textured sound built from the band’s basic three piece line up and augmented by keyboards and extra guitar parts. No longer is the band hemmed in by the pop-song format; gutsy album tracks like ‘Liar’ and ‘Driver’ showing a side of the band that may confuse some – and is sure to win over a host of others.
“I think the album is a lot more accessible for a wider range of people. We didn’t want to be a kids’ band or whatever. I like to play music that I would want to listen to myself.”
And so Eskimo Joe has recorded an album that rocks in a whole different way from earlier recordings, with aspirations towards beauty and matters of the heart. It could gain Eskimo Joe a whole new audience… but will it scare the kids away?
“I don’t think so,” Kav says. “A lot of he people who were into us four or so years ago will be in a similar place to where we’re at. They want something they can get their teeth a little more into.”
Something more mature?
Eskimo Joe began recording the follow-up in August.