Eskimeaux | Trinkets

Sometimes when bands create music, it’s more about finding itself than it is about putting down something concrete. In other words, the songs evolve with the band. Tinctures change, new skills are developed, new ideas take shape and find a sort of natural development. The Philadelphia duo of Gabrielle Smith and Benjamin Schurr (who has written wonderful music of his own as Br’er) are called Eskimeau, and they have reworked a previous collection of demos, “Ixsixán” (2009), into this sonically beautiful self-titled eight-song record. Though each of the songs has a different quality, there’s a soft sense about the entire record. All the songs have an ethereal quality, light as quietude. Take the song, “Trinkets”, with its subtly unspooled poetics about love and loss: “Then I mistook the wind in my hair / For your mouth in my mouth, / I thought you were really there.” It’s a gorgeously gossamer sentiment to hope that some little bit of a person is left behind, like a ghost, when they leave you. It’s a song that exists halfway between the celestial concepts of the mind and the grounded real life situation of a relationship. But as creamy as the sound of Eskimeau is, there’s a substantial musicality behind the structure of each track. “Angels, Angels” is a stunner. A stuttering percussion like the hammering of typewriter mixes with ghostly guitar, feathery lead vocals of Smith, a scratchy white noise, before blossoming into eerie and heavenly backing vocals. It’s a perfect balance of tension and refinement. This almost church-like serenity blends directly into the next track, the Latin-titled “Vos Es Vernum”, a song about truth and love. The album will be released digitally by Human Kindness Overflowing and on cassette tape via BLIGHT. Records. Follow Eskimeau on facebook and at twitter. Stream the entire record at bandcamp. — David D. Robbins Jr.

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