CD: Eels – Wonderful, Glorious | New music reviews, news & interviews
CD: Eels – Wonderful, Glorious
Mark Everett returns and this time he comes out fighting
"Gonna shake the house," rasps Mark 'E' Everett on "Bombs Away". It is the first track of his tenth album and it certainly sounds like a statement of intent. Everett has often come across as something of a gloomy rock and roll runt in recent years, but this time around the worm appears to be turning and he ain't taking any cotton-pickin' nonsense any more.
It is pleasing to note that the lyrics definitely have a gutsy, defiant optimism about them, albeit alongside Everett's usual misery: "watching the death of my hopes", he sings on the Johnny Cash-tinged, countrified sob story "On the Ropes". But this is Everett fighting back against life's slings and arrows and heading for "The Turnaround", a deft piece of bayou blues with something of Robbie Robertson about it.
The music, played with taut-yet-supple aplomb by his new band, is no major departure from Everett's well-established mix of the modern and olde worlde Americana that has worked so well for him in the past. The aforementioned opening track is so deliciously demented it sounds like a Vic and Bob parody (in a good way), featuring everything from kazoos to moody organ, noirish guitar and a corncrake vocal that evokes Beefheart and Tom Waits. Elsewhere there are melodic echoes of everything from The Beatles to The Stranglers.
Everett always cuts a dash in the flesh, with a penchant for vintage clothes and eccentric accessories such as chunky cigars and walking sticks, and the best moments on Wonderful, Glorious has a similar panache, unashamedly retro but also distinctly offbeat. Proceedings conclude, typically perversely, with the perky title track, which suggests a brighter future for the singer. I hope for his own sake he does stay happy. Though if he succeeds I wonder whether he will still be as wonderfully, gloriously creative as this.
Watch the video for "New Alphabet" from Wonderful, Glorious
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more New music
Noisy Americans produce a feral blues masterpiece
Album number three from hip hop's controversial pop empress
A festive launch for our regular vinyl reviews
The album of the year was released TODAY? Better believe it...
John Grant’s past catches up with him
Amongst a plethora of whip-smart releases Nick Mulvey's debut wins out
Retro-futurist nostalgia proves a festive treat with the Human League
An open Swedish mind and well-tuned ear creates a Christmas soundtrack of sumptuous eclecticism
Jolly festive folk concert from Fairport Convention's annually recurring spin-off
What does Christmas with the funk legends sound like? Any other day…
Exclusive images from the Sing Blue Silver tour 30 years ago
Synth-rockers' concept mixtape offers more heartburn than heartache