Up until now, Eska has been most famous for the fact that their old drummer, Stuart Braithwaite, left the band in order to start Mogwai. Invent the Fortune should change that though.
The catchy opening burst of "Goodbye To Victories," which also happens to be the best track on the album, sucks you in immediately with a blend of punk and straight-ahead rock, with just a touch of emo. "Blast Theory" follows with a slower, grungier sound, and serves as a little bit of a let down after the stellar opening track, but the straightforward indie-rock sound of "From Springboard To Highdive" quickly makes up for it.
The vocals aren't terrible, but they aren't beautiful either, so you may consider it a bit of a blessing when the uneventful instrumental fourth track, "Knives, Slowing," comes along. The track spotlights Eska's genre-bending and is just one example of how the band bounces back and forth between styles within the framework of a single song.
Next comes the garage sound of "The Ghosts Invade," followed by the bizarre, twangy instrumental, "Between Kings," which is pretty difficult to take seriously but is quite fun nonetheless, much like "Hey Foxymophandlemama, That's Me," or any of the other quirky little instrumentals Pearl Jam occasionally tosses on an album. Then "ESP Does Work" follows the path of several earlier tracks with a garage-like, indie rock feel. The final track, "The Unbelievable Snow Of 1999," could vaguely be considered the ballad of the bunch, being the longest and among the most structurally complex of the eight tracks.
The blending of various genres keeps you on your toes, but it also drags things out on a handful of occasions. Some songs seem to last forever, and you almost wouldn't believe after listening to it that the album is only half an hour long. For the most part though, Eska is able to keep things relatively fresh and interesting, which is more than most bands can say when they try to tackle multiple styles on an entire album, much less on a single track.
released October 1, 2000
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