ALBUM REVIEW: Eels – Wonderful Glorious

eels wonderful glorious

Written for DIY (also in the magazine)

“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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