Eels - Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire
Record Label: Vagrant Records
Release Date: June 2, 2009
Consistently underrated and habitually far from the limelight, California singer/songwriter Mark Oliver Everett, known by most as Eels, has methodically carved out an appealing career as a sensitive singer/songwriter. His latest album Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire, further proves said assertion and stakes its claim as one of 2009's best releases.
Shifting gracefully between scruffy 70s blues-rock and early 60s soul-crooning, Hombre Lobo is as lo-fi, bare bones and cerebral as anything out there right now. Now nine albums into his career (seven studio albums, one live album, one greatest hits) Everett seems to know exactly what to say, how to say it and how to create it, without sounding formulaic, forgettable and dull.
Everett, or as he prefers, E, has gone on record as saying that he wanted the album to be about "That dreadful, intense want that gets you into all sorts of situations that can change your life in big ways," and those desperate pangs are elucidated most vividly in second song, "That Look You Give That Guy," which he admits is his personal favorite.
Lead single "Fresh Blood," which was posted on Spinner.com in advance of the album is a comely, creative spin on lust that finds Everett howling spastically before finding resolution and hope by the end. Other notables include: the wistful "Lilac Breeze, " the bristling "Tremendous Dynamite," and the tortured "The Longing," in which he laments about the "pressure on my chest."
Billboard.com has suggested that the album's title is both a reference to the song "Dog Faced Boy," off of Souljacker, as well as a nod to Everett's grizzled appearance, which he grew during the writing of "Dog Faced Boy," and has maintained nearly 10 years later. This is worth noting because Eels' last album was the staggering and resounding Blinking Lights and Other Revelations, which tried to find clarity amid his parents' death and his sister's suicide. That Everett can find a reason to smile these days is a positive and worth revisiting. And while the garage rock on Hombre Lobo is definitely entertaining, the writhing portraits of loneliness and helplessness are what allow this disc to rise to the top.
Having collaborated with Natalie Imbruglia, T-Bone Burnett, Jon Brion, Tom Waits, and Peter Buck to name but a few, Everett seems to know how to attract a flock without attracting the light bulbs. Perhaps just maybe, Hombre Lobo will allow the talking heads and cronies to do more than just take notice.
WONDERFUL album. One of the best of the year (far above mediocre Animal Collective, Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, or any of that shit)...and up there with Shootenanny! and Daisies Of The Galaxy as Eels best.
I couldn't stand this album, every other song was terrible. I love Blinking Lights and Daisies but this and the awful performance I saw him give make me unenthusiastic about anything else he'll ever put out.
I like this a lot, because it's Eels and I love them, though I feel a wee bit like it's repeating ground he's already covered - at least musically. Unfair to compare it to Electro-Shock Blues as I think that's virtually untouchable, but this feels a little slight maybe in comparison to his older stuff...