Eels – Wonderful, Glorious (2012)
Eels managed to almost completely pass me by. I knew Novocaine for the Soul and was vaguely aware of Going Over to Susan’s House, both off their debut album, Beautiful Freak (1996); and apart from That’s Not Really Funny, from Souljacker (2001), used on BBC’s dark animated sketch show Monkey Dust, I haven’t really listened to them. Wonderful, Glorious is their tenth album.
The album opens with a couple of good tracks, Bombs Away and Kinda Fuzzy have a combative theme to them, with fuzzy alt-rock guitar (sounding almost like a kazoo, a common sound on the album), synth beats and processed keys and voice. Peach Blossom comes in with a great sound, big heavy drums, nice big fuzzy guitars, while the Turnaround is a slower, quieter outing, building up at the end in a solid crescendo; it, along with Accident Prone is contemplative and woeful.
I found that the album started well, and had some highlights, a good turn in angsty, morose pop rock. But, unfortunately, when a track isn’t a highlight, I found it easily and instantly forgettable. Eels almost feel like they are trying to do a lo-fi version of Tom Waits, indeed tracks such as Bombs Away, Peach Blossom and Open My Present could be lifted straight out of Waits’ back catalogue. For that, I give credit.
Overall, the album is well done, and none of the tracks are unlistenable or boring, but for me, there are an equal number of misses as hits.
Favourite tracks: Bombs Away, Peach Blossom, Open My Present
Spotify link: Eels – Wonderful, Glorious