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Eskimo Snow

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Audio CD, September 22, 2009
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Eskimo Snow + Elephant Eyelash + Alopecia [Vinyl]
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 22, 2009)
  • Original Release Date: 2009
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Anticon
  • ASIN: B002JTMO5E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #205,320 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. These Hands
2. January Twenty Something
3. Against Me
4. Even the Good Wood Gone
5. Into the Shadows of My Embrace
6. One Rose
7. On Rose Walk, Insomniac
8. Berkeley by Hearseback
9. This Blackest Purse
10. Eskimo Snow

Editorial Reviews

A year and a half after releasing the acclaimed Alopecia, WHY? returns with their fourth album, Eskimo Snow. The two records are perfect foils: while last year's release delivered intricate rhymes, live loops, slurred hooks, and acerbic wit, Eskimo Snow offers a sung, sobering take on mortality that unfurls in lush waves of Americana and pop-infused psych-folk. Pre-mixed in Nashville by Lambchop's Mark Nevers (Silver Jews, Bonnie Prince Billy, Calexico) and worked over by Alopecia engineer Eli Crews, this album is Why?'s most live-sounding yet--a shadowy and sprawling piece as intimate in subject matter as it is handsome in timbre.
Yoni Wolf and the gang actually recorded Eskimo Snow at the same time as Alopecia, at Minneapolis' Third Ear studio, with Fog's Andrew Broder and Mark Erickson rounding out a live quintet. The vision for two separate albums emerged on a snowed-in night after a hot toddy or two. If Alopecia, however inexplicably, maintains a summery tone, then Eskimo Snow captures the bite and resignation of the Midwestern winters with which these Cincinnati boys grew up.
These Hands opens the album up rich and with deliberate pacing, the rhythm section operating under heavy reverb. Vibraphone likewise duets with piano while windy, wordless vocals fly around the atmosphere, and wet footsteps soon carry the listener to January Twenty Something. Amid this folksy grandness, the whole crew sings for the chorus, bending their harmony into a gorgeously warped drawl.
Most impressively, this record presents a band uninhibited, but evermore accomplished at imbuing sound with mood. Berkeley by Hearseback comes in so soft, the guitar tones feel like waves of grain next to the splashy cymbals and that Jim James-worthy cowboy croon ricocheting through the background. When the titular song brings the album to a hushed close, Eskimo Snow's place in the narrative becomes clear. Rather than spit at death or threaten it with suicide, Wolf stops bucking against the inevitable. In the process, the band discovers a rich place within which their listeners can happily live.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Vice on October 2, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Another fascinating, cryptic take on the mysteries of life, love, and death from Yoni Wolf, the brainchild behind the indescribable WHY?. Yoni's fixation with mummification and Egyptian imagery holds strong throughout this record as it was on a fair bit of 2008's Alopecia, but stylistically, Eskimo Snow is a whole different record. Trading in his signature hip-hop-meets-indie-rock flair, Yoni has created a record much more grounded in classic pop music than his previous works. I wouldn't want Yoni to give up his signature rapping style for good, but this is a great record full of beautiful music and enigmatic lyrics. Just when you think you're starting to wrap your head around the meaning behind a particular song, you'll hear a line that shifts your view, and slowly, bit by bit, the album paints a fascinating, skewed picture of what it means to be Yoni Wolf.

Standouts for me are opener "These Hands," which has a beautiful sing-song vocal harmony and lilting melody. "Even the Good Wood Gone" is a prime example of Yoni's disturbing obsession with mummification and the ancient Pharaoh, coupled with a driving piano lead and crashing drums. "Berkley By Hearseback," "This Blackest Purse," and "Eskimo Snow" are a triple-threat of gorgeous ballads, tinged with that signature WHY? sound that makes the band so damn irresistible. This may not exactly be the WHY? we all know and love, but this is a bloody good album and should appeal to any fan of the burgeoning indie movement.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Leslie Ippolito on October 1, 2009
Format: Audio CD
To think that these songs were written and produced by Yoni and Co. at the same time of Alopecia is mind blowing. It may not be on the same level of the Alopecia songs but man is this a nice collection of recordings. First side is pure perfection and the last three songs are among Yoni's best. I've read a few lukewarm reviews and I personally don't understand what they're listening to? There are few artists who continue to challenge the listener lyrically and musically, and with this lp Why? deserve being touted "The real thing". I've listened to at least 150 cds this year and Eskimo Snow will certainly make my top 10. Give this one at least 5 or 6 spins before moving on. You won't regret it...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kerouac fan on October 9, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Slightly Beach-Boyish. Always a warm Why'ish sound. Great memorable lyrics grab you as always. A touch of psychodelia (sic). Yoni's tired croaky voice is always good to hear, and like Michael Stipe to REM sets the character of Why? Delightfully subtle references to rock'n'roll backing harmonies from the past. Probably Why?'s deepest album to date, but not their most entertaining. At times they slump into a number sounding slightly reminiscent of a British indie rock band, and all of a sudden they're gone - (it's a short album).
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Drew Blair on November 6, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I hate to jump genres, but this is what the new Phish album "Joy" should've sounded like. And I can't be the only person out here who can hear similarities between this and Phish (think Billy Breathes). Regardless, this is an amazing album start to finish, a joy to listen. Amazing to me, listening to this and going back to Clouddead. For those hesitant, check out "Into Shadows of My Embrace."Joy
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