The Eskies are about as much fun as you can have without taking your clothes off and their debut album After the Sherry Went Round was a testament to this. An album so rousingly successful that we labelled it as one of our albums of the year. Now they are back with a charismatic flourish with their eagerly anticipated follow-up album And Don’t Spare the Horses.
The Eskies are bold, brash and brazen – this is much of a universal truth as gravity – and And Don’t Spare the Horses is no exception from the rule. The album is absolutely everything you could have come to expect from them and so much more. It’s a loud and fast album infused with belting brass tunes and jubilant guitar melodies that are played at breakneck speed in a richly playful vein that has garnered the band so much critical acclaim. Their humour in their music is one of the aspects that has drawn their legions of fans to them and this jubilant nature bursts forth almost as loudly as their melodies and they can’t help but paint a smile across your face. And Don’t Spare the Horses is filled with a variety of monumental songs such as their opening track All Good Men, a riotous and resonant opening title that hits you like canon fire and drags you down into their unique representation of a 20s-infused world fuelled by extravagant and debonair songs that as as rich and opulent as gold.
That is so refreshing about And Don’t Spare the Horses however is the reward for the fans who have been listening to the band from the beginning. They bring to life everything that we have come to expect in droves but they also build on this time and again. As the album progresses you can hear their growth and expansion as they begin to carefully extend their music to dabble in other genres and build on their own representations. Songs like Building up Walls are a step away from what you might consider as their comfort zone as they drive themselves into more sombre and melancholic waters that show their more tender side. However, even here they never lose their playful and often macabre sense of fun as their own particularly brand of love song, I’d Rather be Lonely proves. The song deals with the notion of preferring a life of loneliness rather than risking the care and fear that can come from human affection.
And Don’t Spare the Horses is a masterpiece that seems as though it was born from fire, brimstone and passion. Darkly funny songs appear to erupt to life like dormant volcanoes waking up from centuries of slumber and they send their charismatic melodies sky high in a gratifying burst of sound. You can find yourself lost in the world they paint a picture of time and again as you steadily wear down the repeat button on your stereo.
The band’s new UK tour kicks off on 4th October in Manchester. For full dates and tickets please visit www.theeskies.com / @TheEskies
Review by Joe Knipe