Reviews of Eskimo's The Further Adventures of Der Shrimpkin
East Bay Express
If I were allowed to tout only one album this year, this one would be a shoo-in. Mostly made up of tightly orchestrated one-minute canzonets that sound like particularly ingenius jam sessions, Der Shrimpkin relentlessly showcase the bandmembers' deft musicianship and psychotic versatility. From the six minute funk-acid-scat-swing number "Dado Peru" to the circus metal/bebop tango fantasia "Bones of the Saints," Berkeley's Eskimo bounces between styles like a parti-colored rubber ball. The albums two covers, of a song by Snakefinger and the Residents and a Duke Ellington tune, give only the barest glimpse of the myriad influences at play, from Beefheart and Zappa to Prima and Primus. With an arsenal including marimba, driving bass, drums, distortion-heavy guitars, and trombone, this merrie band of stylistic outlaws shanghais the listener into an anarchic wonderland.
-- Sam Hurwitt
Sardonic out-rock that tips its hat to the likes of Zappa, Beefheart, the Residents, and early Fishbone. John Shiurba is a Zoot Horn Rollo for the post prog melting pot. With straightforward tube-tone, he embraces weird, grouchy chromatic licks, queasy slide phrases, and greasy double stop skanks.
Hailing from San Francisco, Eskimo is about as diverse as any band the Bay Area music scene has ever nurtured. On Der Shrimpkin, the second release from Eskimo, the band incorporates elements of funk, jazz improvisation, circus music, nursery rhymes, twisted blues and metal guitar to create a sound that emphasizes their way-off-the-beaten-path sense of humor. Listening to Der Shrimpkin, it's difficult not to think of Frank Zappa and Primus, mainly because the musicians in Eskimo contribute the same ingredients these bands add to their own musical recipes- diverse influences, a warped sense of humor and high-caliber musicianship. And trying to classify Eskimo is like trying to classify either if those bands. It has the same effect of trying to force a square peg into a round hole. If you're the musically adventurous type whose looking for something different, this disc is a must have for your collection.
-- Don Dispaldo
This is one of the releases on Prawnsong that doesn't have Claypool producing it. The liner notes credit the songs to Eskimo Ditties and that's an apt name for them. Most of the songs are short and catchy little tunes that stick around in your head. A lot of the songs have a funky hip-hop thrash punk sound to them, somewhat reminscent of the stuff by the bay area thrash group Psychefunkapus. The difference here is the extensive use of instruments like the marimba and the trombone, which results in an ethnic sound. The melody in "Buttplug" is very similar to a song I've heard, but I can't quite place it.
-- Ram Samudrala