Album Review Eels - Wonderful, Glorious

E and gang’s tenth album is a return to distorted guitar-and-vocals primal garage rock.

‘Nobody listens to a whispering fool,’

growls E, ‘I’ve had enough of being complacent / I’ve had enough of being a mouse / I’m no longer keeping my mouth shut / Bombs away!’ Now there’s a statement of intent if we’ve ever heard one. After 2010’s double bill of ‘End Times’ and ‘Tomorrow Morning’, which saw the Eels frontman in reflective mood - as opposed to angry or self-lacerating - ‘Wonderful, Glorious’ is a return to the distorted guitars-and-vocals primal garage rock of ‘Hombre Lobo’. ‘That was a long, cold night,’ says ‘Peach Blossom’. ‘But then the sun came out / To thaw the ice.’

Like that record, Eels’ tenth (!!) is no less inward-facing. Any breathing space between songs is shrouded in feedback, or the metallic buzz of a stylophone, or some discordant electronic noises. The ‘quiet’ numbers - like ‘Kinda Fuzzy’ - still propelled by harsh drums and a rumbling, trundling bass.

It’s marked once again by E’s usual themes - triumph over adversity, taking solace in the small things (‘Open the window man and smell the peach blossom / The tiger lily / The marigold’ sounds weirdly threatening in this Tom Waits-goes-punk style) and, as always he manages to deliver it in a new package.

One of the consistently brilliant musicians working today hasn’t let us down yet. Which is pretty wonderful, and - yeah - glorious.

 

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