’E’s a slip­pery one

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSICREVIEWS - BRIAN BOYD

EELS

Won­der­ful Glo­ri­ous EWorks

Hard to be­lieve that Won­der­ful Glo­ri­ous is the 10th stu­dio al­bum from Mark Oliver Everett, but easy to con­clude that it’s one of his very best. Since the 1996 break­through

Beau­ti­ful Freak, Everett (bet­ter known sim­ply as E) has walked a drunken line – some­times miss­ing the mark, other times per­fectly re­al­is­ing his unique mu­si­cal vi­sion. Hav­ing writ­ten an au­to­bi­og­ra­phy of sorts, made a doc­u­men­tary about quantum physics and re­leased a Great­est Hits, there were fears that Eels were about to slink off the scene, but this more than stead­ies the ship – even if E, af­ter all the tragedies, comes across as some­what bat­tered and bruised.

He sings on On the Ropes: “In the ring so long, gonna prove them wrong, I’m not knocked out but I’m on the ropes”. Per­haps be­ing boxed into a cor­ner is the right place for him, as here he is equal parts defiant, trou­bled and op­ti­mistic. Opener Bombs

Away is grit-rock with a kick that show­cases E’s knack for riff and melody. The first sin­gle Peach

Blos­som is faux hard rock with a fan­tas­tic fuzz bass core. A bit psy­che­delic, a bit scuzzy blues, it’s one of the best things here.

A lot here re­minds you of the sound Everett had on both

Elec­tro-Shock Blues and Hom­bre Lobo, but just as you feel that’s he’s re­turned to more com­mer­cial glo­ries he throws in some new sonic ad­ven­tures. This is very much a vo­cal al­bum, and E is on great form through­out, whether rag­ing against the mod­ern world or find­ing him­self at many a cross­roads. On the Ropes and

Turn­around both com­bine E’s past, present and mu­si­cal fu­ture, and on New Al­pha­bet he sounds like a de­monic Jack White (that’s a good thing).

You’re really not sup­posed to sound this pos­sessed and so wildly ad­ven­tur­ous on your 10th re­lease, but what E has man­aged to do is com­bine much of his mu­si­cal his­tory with new stylings and tropes. And he is right, you know – this is all a bit won­der­ful and a bit glo­ri­ous. eel­s­the­band.com

Down­load: Bombs Away, Peach Blos­som, On the Ropes, New Al­pha­bet

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