To celebrate 21 years of Eskimo Joe the boys from Fremantle embarked on an album re-release journey earlier this year beginning with their debut Girl (2001) and followed by Ghosts of the Past (2011). The next cab off the rank is their fourth studio album originally released in 2009, Inshalla.
Off the back of their most successful album to date, Black Fingernails, Red Wine, Eskimo Joe’s Inshalla debuted on the ARIA charts at number one but didn’t quite achieve its predecessor’s lasting success. Nine years later, Inshalla Anniversary Edition includes the original twelve songs plus a mammoth eight extra.
The album’s most successful release, Foreign Land, captures the essence of Eskimo Joe. With its instrumental layering complemented by Kav Temperley’s warbling, emotive voice and lyrics inspired by the late Heath Ledger’s death it is the perfect introduction and sets the scene for what is to come. A pleasant bonus on Inshalla Anniversary Edition is the inclusion of the Foreign Land demo in addition to three others: Inshalla, The Sound of Your Heart and Childhood Behaviour. Hearing the stripped back productionless versions in comparison to the studio versions illustrates the progression of each track and offers insight into Eskimo Joe’s intentions with this album.
Other bonus tracks include Honeymoon and Thunderclap, which were iTunes bonus tracks when the original album was released, and Falling Too Fast and Sinners and Saints, which were included on the Foreign Land CD single. Each of these seamlessly slots into the track list and complements the overall atmosphere.
Over the years Eskimo Joe’s sound has matured and they have discovered a formula that works well for them. With Inshalla they cemented it. The addition of bonus and demo tracks ensures Inshalla Anniversary Edition is a product that highlights this formula resulting in a solid, if somewhat monotone album.
Album Review by Anita Kertes