really, really don’t want to review this album. It’s too fucking hot outside. I don’t want to hear it. Eels have meant so much to me in my life, probably more than every other band ever have. They mean a lot to the rest of the populace as well. Mark Everett is to fuck-ups what Jesus Christ is to Christians. That’s the shape of matters. I don’t want to find out that the man isn’t any good any more. I have not evidence to suggest such a thing before I hear it, but there’s this feeling somewhere in my guts. The same feeling you get before you fall into a coma?

You know the history from 100 identikit Eels reviews. Occasionally bearded man forms band with Godlike fat drummer and an entire temp agency’s worth of revolving bassists, has a couple of crossover chart hits, proceeds to have his entire family die, and becomes the poster child for repressives everywhere. A lot of people didn’t like their last album, Souljacker. They said it was too “rock”. E said they were the last true rock band. As with all other musician/fan arguments, the truth is somewhere in the middle, and covered in bullshit.

The album starts with “All In A Day’s Work”, E giving it a vocal workout, with his voice that could crush cardboard fighting over the top of the music Robert Johnson would have made if instead of selling his soul to Satan he was being sodomised by him. It’s not good enough, really. Yeah, it’s “good”, but it’s not good enough. I need more. I’m undernourished. It’s 2003, it’s 33 degrees outside, where’s the messiah?

Black album cover. Very Metallica. Block capitals. Ironically depressing. I can’t help but think of their tune “I Write The B-Sides”: “I write the b-sides that make a small portion of the world cry/ I like the seaside and singing songs that make you not wanna die”. He can’t be allowed to turn himself into a self-parody. Mark, you spent all your early career distancing yourself from Beck. Don’t turn into him.

Track 2 is better. “Saturday Morning”, for that is what it is called, has FIRST SINGLE stamped onto it, like the company markings on the skin of Parma ham. Kind of pop, even more Eels. He can’t do pop properly, God bless him, but “Mr E’s Beautiful Blues” was used in Big Brother 2 to soundtrack Helen’s highlights package. Still, it’s not “Last Stop: This Town” or “Flyswatter” or “Bus Stop Boxer” or “Spunky”.

This is all wrong. Because it’s not a bad album, per se. It’s just that I want another Electro Shock Blues. You may or may not want another Electro Shock Blues. But if you don’t want it you are fucking stupid. There’s no two ways about it. There’s two kinds of people: those that understand that Electro Shock Blues is the greatest album ever put together, and idiots. It’s just that you people can’t understand. I don’t want to speak to you.

“Love of the Loveless” sounds like a breakthrough summer indie hit in Germany.

It suffers from a lack of identity. Beautiful Freak was an attempt at a breakthrough. Electro Shock Blues was the full on assault of tragedy and hurt. Daisies of the Galaxy was them saying that it’s OK to be happy. Souljacker was a man rocking. Shootenany! is none ofthe above. It’s just another album. Eels shouldn’t be a band that put just another album out. That¡¯s the sort of thing that, I dunno, The Coral do. The backing of the fifth song here, Dirty Girl, actually sounds like that bloody Coral song anyway.

I may cry.

Oh, of course I’m being unnecessarily hard on it. It’s not bad or poor or anything like that. I mean, look at the damn score I’ve given it. Above all, it IS an Eels album, if only a lacklustre entry in the series. But by Mark Oliver Everett it is. Thus, it is good. Except the man has never been anything less than great previously.

“Agony” sounds like some song that was on local radio a few years ago. Did any Eels tune break local radio before? I hope to god not. This album may well, though. Is he trying to be pop? Fuck pop. Pop has never been there for me. The Eels were there for me. “PS You Rock My World” probably stopped me from killing myself. I’d probably be under the ground if it had turned up sandwiched between, I dunno, Del Amitri and an advert for a local carpet company.

Track 8 is called “Restraining Order Blues”. It’s too hot. I’m sweating. My beer has got warm. “Lone Wolf” sounds like the intro to a TV show featuring Paul Gross as a maverick detective in the outback. He’s talking about loneliness. It’s weird. The man knows what it feels like when you feel like everyone’s deserted you. The longer this album goes on, the more I feel like I’ve been deserted. Someone somewhere has gone wrong. Whether it’s me or Mark I don’t know.

Right, this is great. Track 10. “Wrong About Bobby”. The only girl I ever loved chose a guy called Bobby over me. Heh. I’m smiling now. I’m smiling with fucking tears in my eyes. THE EELS ARE BACK MOTHERFUCKER!

THIS IS AN EELS ALBUM! IT HAS EELS SONGS ON IT! FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKINGFUCK! “You’ve got to give it up for the new modern man” says my boy E. E’s laying it on the line for this Bobby character, telling the man to get out of his way. Anger, violence, and more anger. My god- this song has just overtaken “Going To Your Funeral Part 1” as the best Eels song ever.

It’s followed by “Numbered Days”, which sounds like Feeder.

“Fashion Awards” is a classic Eels album track by numbers. He wants to kill himself at a fashion show. There’s strings on the last track. I hate music. I love the Eels. I’m ambivalent to this album.

Oh, fuck it.

Reviewed by: Dom Passantino

Reviewed on: 2003-09-01

Recent Reviews By This Author

Apathy - Where’s Your Album?!!
Apathy - Where’s Your Album?!!
2004 Year End Thoughts - Dom Passantino
Westlife - Allow Us To Be Frank
The 411 - Between The Sheets

Log In to Post Comments
Posted 12/22/2004 - 04:21:56 PM by mroberts:
 OH, the angst! The first thing Buddhism teaches you is impermanence. Change is the nature of things. Now (Grasshopper) stop being so hard on yourself and everyone else. Acceptance of impermanence is the first step (toward a personal freedom) and compassion is the bigger next step (not only in Buddhism, but in, um, growing up). Actually, I prefer yoga. (I know E has trouble with depression, so perhaps some of the fan base does too, so I don't mean to be preachy, please take this as encouragement - I only get the occassional touch of melancholy, I'm definitely no expert on depression. But, honestly, I do find that good habits, like a regular yoga practice, is good for body and mind.) Anyway, I am older (37) and am catching up on music from the last, oh, 15 years... I only have the Eels' last 2 albums (this and Souljacker). I think both are great - I'll have to check out the earlier stuff.
all content copyright 2004