archiv – the eskimos

from many, many years ago……

(Tell me later)
Recently reacquainted in the great lost CD debacle and after a gap of some months since last hearing it, it’s still causing bounds of excitement around our gaff. ‘Something must be transmitted somehow’ is the follow up release to 2001’s debut long player ‘Let it come down’ which sadly I haven’t heard but I’ll forgive on this occasion.

According to the press release that accompanies this release this Athens, GA based quartet have been favourably compared to Mercury Rev and the Flaming Lips, such reference points may appear wasted on many bands but judging by the content of ‘Something…’ it seems a well justified call, however it may not be for reasons of sound or melodic delivery but more importantly their attitude and historical interpretation of the elements of pop that have preceded, for the Eskimos seem to have a curious angle and understanding of all the key elements of 70’s rock and thoroughly revel in bleeding the whole mix into a current day revisionist tapestry.

What makes this Eskimos release all the more extraordinary is the fact that it has been created, produced and marketed on a shoe string budget. The multi national corporations don’t even get a look in, their too busy chasing the next regurgitated scene setter, their aim to make quick turn around profits while all along beneath their noses hides the slickest record I’ve heard in a long time.

As if to pour water and add insult the Eskimos deploy their art with such cutting mastery as to leave you swooning for more, blazing guitars, polished melodies and the delivery of an audacious spectacle of rampant and ambitious backdrops that flex stylishly between early 70’s glam rock peaks without the glitter and the platforms, wholesome well weathered rock formulae and hippy punk idealism. Crazy as it may seem but it’s true. Their remit is one of overreaching ambition that they ultimately pull off with all the aplomb and finger wagging arrogance of an unlikely coup. Sound wise they cross so many boundaries that they provide the listener a unique understanding of the wayward links within rock’s fastidious make up.

For reference points the nearest latter day comparison would have to be the Makers concept album ‘Rock star God’, elsewhere there are lashings of Mott the Hoople tangling with the Black Halos, elements of Generation X’s ‘Valley of the Dolls’, the Soft Boys, Quickspace, Flaming Lips with even enough room for the Beatles, now how cool do you want this to be?

Overall ‘Something must be transmitted somehow’ translates like a rock opera of sorts, swathed in grandiose melodrama that in the hands of lesser would appear ridiculous and pompous. ‘Roaming demon’ borrows liberally from Spiritualised and Blur’s ‘Tender’ in between incorporating elements of gospel, and by the end sounding like a twisted incarnation of the Plastic Ono Band cutting a dash across the Beatles ‘Let it be’. ‘Sadie maybe’ utilises big booted terrace chanting and spins the whole thing with such regal rock tomfoolery that it might be advised that Supergrass check this out for tips. ‘Can you hear me’ cruises all the glam rock avenues and serrate them with all the attitude of the Small Faces at their prime. The albums most ear catching moment appears with the double whammy ‘Come on’ and ‘Ghetto kid’, asides the fact that they so neatly bleed into each other, it’s also the neatest example of how the band ably transfuse the various threads of the rock melody. ‘Come on’ is hurtfully brief, a wayward interlude of spiralling spaced out faintness that quickly, at the flick of a key change transforms into a rambling attitude laced rocker. However it’s on ‘Satellite Blues’ that the band really come into their own, laid back melodies preside over sublime harmonic orchestrations punctured by a heart breaking solo which falls perfectly into the path of ‘The Pills’ which itself serves up one of the most euphoric chorus’ your ever likely to hear all year, screwball early 70’s pop very much in the spirit of the Faces but laced with the exuberance of the Sweet even if it does go a bit Kenny Loggins ‘Auf Weidersein pet’ in the middle.

Certainly a record that’s set to divide the camp between those who love it and those who hate it with a vengeance, me I like it, and a lot, very nearly album of last year or quite possibly this year if they decide to re-release it, nuff said.

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