Black Fingernails, Red WineEskimo Joe


About Black Fingernails, Red Wine

Eskimo Joe's sound is rich, moody, and engrossing, but bassist Kavyen Temperley's skillful and articulate songwriting is the best weapon in the band's arsenal. Temperley thinks conceptually: A Song Is A City, the band's breakthrough album, is a nuanced and provocative exploration of his hometown of Fremantle, Australia. Through song and story, he captured the strange tensions between cosmopolitan living and geographic isolation so common on the Aussie West Coast; listeners around the country identified, and rewarded the band with their first hit disc. Black Fingernails, Red Wine, by contrast, was a conscious attempt to broaden and streamline the Eskimo Joe approach, and to incorporate elements associated with Eighties rock. Just as he did with The Sleepy Jackson - another Perth-area band that has made international waves - producer Matt Lovell has delivered a polished, radio-ready sound that sacrifices none of the integrity or identity of the band. Old fans adored Black Fingernails, Red Wine, and new fans were made by the thousands: while A Song Is A City went platinum in Australia, the latest Eskimo Joe release has sold four times more.

Video director Nash Edgerton is almost as well-recognized Down Under as the members Eskimo Joe are: he's an actor and performer as well as a filmmaker, and his recently-released first feature was a hit at the Sydney Film Festival. Edgerton has shot clips for many of Australia's finest, including Toni Collette, The Sleepy Jackson, and Ben Lee. For the "Black Fingernails, Red Wine" spot, the young director has taken a dramatic (and black comic) approach: it's a dark night in Western Australia, and the three Joes are out on a kidnapping spree. We watch Temperley and his two bandmates abduct three men, and shove them in the trunk of a vintage automobile; later, as the song arrives at its false ending, they strike the business ends of their spades into fresh earth. They're burying bodies tonight - but whose? All is revealed when the well-dressed musicians pop the boot and Edgerton swings his camera on the faces of the victims: they're Eskimo Joe, or to be more precise, a prior version of Eskimo Joe that's now defunct. Temperley and company have hijacked their own history, forcibly seized it, and sent it into the ground. No clearer metaphor for a band's reinvention has ever been committed to videotape!


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