Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Album Review- Eels - Wonderful, Glorious

Wonderful, Glorious
***and1/2 out of *****

There is a line on Eels newest release that sums up when Mark Oliver Everett is at his best, "In the ring so long/gonna prove'em wrong/I'm not knocked out/but I'm on the ropes".  The song is aptly titled "On The Ropes" and it is this space between defeated and just OK where E seems to thrive. 

On past releases (the bleak End Times) he was all but smothered and out for the count, dishearteningly and disturbingly so. Here Eels and crew aren't exactly as elated as the title suggests, but there is a fighting spirit that seeps into the tunes, giving slight hope and elevating this collection of songs over any E has recently contributed.

The opener "Bombs Away" never delivers the musical bomb alluded too, instead it goes hymn like with a church organ delivering texture instead of devastation.  Moods and mental states are at the forefront lyrically and they range all over as any listener to past E records will surely recognize. 

While the lyrics may be a touch schizophrenic the music stays remarkably constant. There is a slinky guitar that dominates, and can elevate the groove nicely.  Electro pulses and flourishes color "Kinda Fuzzy" and the confident "New Alphabet" with its big chorus are highlights, but the pianos and layered strings that seem to drift in an out of songs keeps things fresh.  The title track closes the album with a shake and shimmy, going for the spiritual love aspect with a wordless chorus of oohs and aahs before a crescendo that ends things on a positive upbeat note. 

Everett has never sounded closer to Tom Waits vocally and musically then on Wonderful, Glorious.  Who knows if this trend will continue or E will move onto other things next time out,  all we can do is listen to this one and enjoy it for what it is; a solid album. 
We have loved Eels in the past and hated him.  We are always excited to check out his work though and this one is a goodie. 

Support the artist here, grab the disk here and peep some sample tracks below:
"New Alphabet"

"Kinda Fuzzy"

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