In 2006, Eskimo Joe released Black Fingernails, Red Wine, an album that went double platinum and made Eskimo Joe one of the biggest bands in Australia. On their forth album Inshalla it is easy to the see that the bad are hoping for a repeat performace. With help of UK producer Gil Norton (The Pixies) and a few Middle Eastern influences, Eskimo Joe have recorded a solid album that highlights the band’s abilty to create catchy songs without messing with the formula too much. The result is a glossy album that lacks the charm that made the band’s early albums so good.
The first track on the album and single Foreign Land, which is said to have been inspired by Heath Ledger’s death, unexpectedly begins with a Middle Eastern instrumental before launching into a catchy rock song that is probably as close to an epic track as Eskimo Joe have ever been. Unfortunatly by about the tenth listen this becomes rather grating and lyrics like “I smell the blood of an Australian” come off a little cringeworthy, rather than thought provoking and emotional. The Middle Eastern influences continue throughout the album, especially on Falling for You, which is inexplicably seperated into two tracks when it would have worked much better as one.
This album contains some of the band’s catchiest songs. Losing Friends Over Love is definetly one of them, with a chourus that sounds like it was built for commercial radio. The Sound Of Your Heart is the closest to early Eskimo Joe on this album and also one of the stand out tracks. The best track on this album, however, is Childhood Behaviour. This ode to rockstar parenthood features violin and acousic guitar and is a refreshing change from the slick widescreen sounds of the rest of the album.
Although this is the bands most accomnplished album musically, the whole record lacks intamacy and charm. The songs are good but it feels like the band are trying too hard to become a stadium success. Most of the songs sound quite generic and it’s easy to imagine them being flogged on commerical radio and featured on channel 10 promos in the near future. And this is not a good thing.