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 7,000 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
Tom Petty, Willie Nelson and Mark Knopfler summoned to salute the late guitar hero
Sold-out world music festival warms to revolutionary Ukrainians
California girl's return confounds expectations
Notting Hill meets Cornwall at boho-hippie-rock-literary love-in
Erasure man’s theatrical evocation of a mythical life of longing, love and exploration
The usually reserved Faroese get down at G! Festival 2014
Mammoth musical encyclopaedia of a strain of music integral to American culture
America's finest musical observer jokes and rages about age, depression and dysfunction
Jovially irrelevant tweeny-bop banger debut from flash-in-the-pan popsters
American institution returns to the Seventies - again
A powerful, genre-defying debut album from the shape-shifting ensemble
Kid-friendly festival has an audience as eclectic as the line-up