Western Australian band Eskimo Joe are veritable and venerable indie giants in the Australian music scene, and it is great to see them back after a hiatus, firstly with single ‘Say Something’ last year and now with a follow up, ’99 Ways’.

They have also announced news of an Australia-wide tour playing their first two monumental albums ‘A Song Is A City’ (2004) and their multi ARIA winning album ‘Black Fingernails, Red Wine’ (2006) in full. It’s not setting off until March/April 2022 – a sign of the uncertain times affecting live music.

The release of single ’99 Ways’ cements a much welcome return with the band’s signature celestial choruses and melodies: razor sharp guitars and harmonies.

Eskimo Joe imbue into this track a delightful vibrancy and power – thumping and punching guitars and a thrilling pace. This is a band that continues to shine after more than a decade of producing vital and exciting music.

There is, despite the brilliant and sparkling delivery, a message of loneliness and separation:

There’s 99 ways to pull my body apart
But there’s only one way that you can break my heart
I said I’d give anything to be with you tonight
I said I’d give anything to be with you tonight
There’s a million different ways that you can break my soul
But there’s only one way that you can make me whole
I said I’d give anything to be with you tonight
I said I’d give anything to be with you tonight

Singer Kav Temperley says of the track:

99 Ways is an isolation love song.  I started writing this song in the first week of isolation when I was stuck in my bedroom with a bad fever, we didn’t know what it was and as I’d just returned from the states, we thought it best to isolate me from the rest of the family – luckily i had a piano in my room! Isolation is something the whole world has had to go through, and it’s been tough but sometimes you can only understand what someone else is going through if you have been through it yourself.

The video is a lovely portraiture of Temperley and his wife exchanging message in the time of lockdown – a sense of poignancy and space created by social distancing. The band says of the video:

With the 99 Ways video, we wanted to convey an experience of what we all went through during lockdown; the internet became our universe, and the only way most people were able to communicate with each other was through messaging and social media. It was bittersweet… we were so lucky to be able to communicate, but not being able to see or touch our loved ones was incredibly frustrating.

Directed by Kendra Fewster,  the ‘99 Ways’ video was filmed in WA and has been created to watch on a phone in portrait format and best viewed using the YouTube phone app.:

Certainly a sign of the times. You can get the single here in a variety of formats.

Full details of the tour in March/April 2022 can be found here

Eskimo Joe are:
Kav Temperley 
Joel Quartermain
Stu MacLeod

Feature photograph: Jarrad Seng