Monday, 8 June 2009

Eels - Hombre Lobo

It feels like a while since we’ve heard from E.
Mark Everett, leader of Eels has been busy.
While we haven’t received a new studio effort in four years to follow up Blinking Lights and Other Revelations, there have been other projects keeping Everett active.
Since the release of sultry and quite brilliant Blinking Lights E has written and released his autobiography, Things the Grandchildren Should Know (a compelling read), released live album Eels with Strings along with a best of, Essential Eels 96-06 and Useless Trinkets, a collection of B-sides and rarities. On top of this E collaborated with the BBC to produce the multi-award winning Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives, a documentary about his quantum physicist father Hugh Everett III.
So it’s not as if we’ve been starved of gruff, bearded melancholy but now E is back to doing what he does best.
Hombre Lobo sees a progression from the Dog Faced Boy we met in 2001 release Souljacker: “I was thinking what happens when the young Dog Faced Boy grows up. He tries to function in society but he can’t get past the fact he’s likened to an animal,” says E.
These so called 12 songs of desire are yet another step forward for Eels.
It’s opened with Prizefighter, a stomping track that pounds simply along to E’s vocals which remain as charming as ever: “Yeah I’ve been through a lot and you can’t scare me.”
It’s more upbeat and has some menace. It’s far away from the sad, autobiographical effort that was Blinking Lights which was surrounded by abundant string arrangements and melodies. Tremendous Dynamite is a retro chug, bluesy enough to knock Jack White off his mantle as E screams: “I am el Hombre Lobo” (I am a wolf man) and he is joined for a small moment by his dog/studio mate through a rampant romp of beats and licks.
It’s gripping and E hasn’t shied away from his softer, tranquil drawl either as his raw animal desire is shifted into expressive ballads with songs such as My Timing is Off (“Believe it or not, we don’t have a choice in matters of the heart, just gotta be brave enough to love and let yourself be loved”), In My Dreams and That Look You Give That Guy.
Allied by dark moments in preceding single, Fresh Blood, where instinct overtakes the charismatic front man as he lets out blood curdling howls to an atmospheric back drop, it’s plain to see that the American werewolf is back with a vengeance.

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