Since 2005’s overreaching double, Blinking Lights And Other Revelations it’s been a lot harder to care about Eels. Mark Oliver Everett (or “E”) was more intriguing, thoughtful and interesting across the documentary, memoir and a few guest-spots and stray covers than on the measured – ultimately quite boring, obvious Eels records since 2009.
He’s never embarrassed himself with a record – you look through the 10-album catalogue to date and it’s all solid, sometimes impeccable but where the first four albums were lovely, brilliant it’s taken until Wonderful, Glorious to want to put two adjectives together with a comma – unless of course you wanted to say measured, boring or tired, obvious – and that would certainly apply to everything post-Blinking Light and – arguably – to 2003’s Shootenanny! too. But I’ve always given that a bit of a free pass on account of just how much I loved everything up to it.
And then it’s across a tour of the many things Eels has done so well, great lyrics, big Beck-sounding distorted bass and drums (Peach Blossom) with traces of where the
arrangements went on Blinking Lights (The Turnaround). And moody song-threats inside road-truckin’ grooves (New Alphabet).
I still find it hard to care about E’s music like I once did – it was so easy to be swept up in the claustrophobic but glorious, swirling worlds of Beautiful Freak and Electro-Shock Blues and Daises of The Galaxy and Souljacker.
But Wonderful, Glorious is if not a return to form a retracing of steps. And it’s the smart – correct – move for Everett. There’s not a dud among his discography but it’s time he uncovered a few gems again. Feels like he’s back on track for that.