Dear Eskiimo - Manchester Star & Garter - 21.7.04
The glamour of pop music meets the dark grubby underworld. As I walk to tonight's gig 3 pre-pubescent girls in leisure wear juggle flick knife's while an obese child threatens to pop his BMX tires by his sheer weight alone. Welcome to downtown Manchester, the heart of the red light district and the setting for a showcase gig from Britain's Best New Pop Band.
Dear Eskiimo are the bastard offspring of Outkast, The Sound Of Music, Space, Alisha's Attic and Goldfrapp. The sort of band you'd imagine if Richard X and Brian Higgins got together with Andre 3000 whilst creating a frankensteins monster out of every member of Girls Aloud, who had in turn been fed on a diet of Broadway Musicals. The fact that they actually look as good as they sound makes the whole spectacle even more alluring. Katie, an irresistible lolita straight from the pages of FHM and dressed in a baby doll dress and pink knee high boots. It's the sort of outfit Simon Fuller is preparing for the girls of S Club 8 as soon as they hit 16, but on Katie it's fitting in with the music - the nursery rhyme melodies counteract the darker lyrical twists. Jules, a cheeky chappy cockney who looks like he's straight out of a cheap cable remake of early 80s Jackanory plays guitar and adds a bit of grit to the band. Standing at the back is Sy on decks and samplers, a man who wouldn't be out of place as a extra from a Junior Senior video.
With an album already recorded and set to be released in Canada in October the band can pick from a selection of hits to go. "Don't Wanna Feel" is a rewrite of Outkast's "Hey Ya" interpolated with Stealers Wheel "Stuck In The Middle Of You" complete with a middle 8 straight outta Betty Boo's back catalogue. "Jo" introduces the xylophone to pop music, falls short of handclaps, but makes up for it with a segment which will surely bring out tap dancers with umbrella's in the video. "Patience", the bands ballad, sounds like something off Bugsy Malone and is the bands most obvious signifier that the band are as much influenced by the Sound Of Music as they are hip hop.
One day this gig is gonna go down in history as the pop equivalent of seeing the Sex Pistols at the Free Trade Hall. Some people remember where they were when JFK got shot. Some people can still recall where they were when they first heard the Spice Girls "Wannabe". Remember where you first read about the genius that is Dear Eskiimo
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