By Al Kaufman
There is more to One EskimO than their breakthrough single, “Kandi.” Sampling from Candi Staton’s “He Called Me Babe,” the song is reminiscent of Primitive Radio Gods’ “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand,” in which the B.B. King sample was better than the actual song. But that doesn’t make the tune any less addictive.
What the rest of All Balloons offers can best be described as little gems. They are little shiny pieces that stand out from the other faceless grains of sand on the beach. They are pretty, or maybe cute. What differs “cute” from “pretty” is that “cute” offers not even a hint of danger. “Cute” is enjoyable without making one dig deeper or worry about any repercussions. “Cute” is safe.
That said, there is nothing inherently wrong with cute, or with All Balloons. Head Eskimo Kristian Leontiou dishes out lots of yummy morsels of low-fi indie pop. Many of them have a similar flavor to them; gently picked guitars, light and airy keyboards, and Leontiou’s relaxed, but slightly soulful, David Gray-like vocals. Sometimes they go too far; “Simple Day” lives up to its title, with a brain-dead, Jack Johnson quality to it. But it’s followed by the grandiose “Givin’ Up,” which makes one immediately take notice. Opening with a single guitar, it soon lays down a thumping beat and some nice falsetto vocals before the full chorus kicks in. It’s something Fatboy Slim would be proud of.
But most of this is just simple songs to hang with. They won’t blow your mind, but they won’t hurt you either. The same can be said for their 10 animated short stories that accompany the album, “The Adventures of One Eskimo,” in which our hero looks for his lost love, Princess Little Feather, and meets animal friends along the way. Again, cute.
One EskimO play Smith’s Olde Bar on November 2.