Feb 05, 2013 Issue #44 - Best of 2012 - Grimes
"I'm getting tired of being complacent," sings Mark "E" Everett on "Bombs Away," the opening track to this 10th studio chapter of a career that often reads better as a narrative than a discography. Channelling "Hey Hey, My My"-era Neil Young in sentiment, it's an odd line to open an album that verifies that complacency is still not something Eels need worry about.
This is the first record to come out of E's new L.A. recording studio and it's arguably the most collaborative, with every band member contributing to the writing process. The result is a more diverse and often louder album than its predecessor, Tomorrow Morning. The gorgeous ditties are still there on tracks such as "Accident Prone," but this melodic spell is often abruptly broken by those louder, raucous moments: this might be the first of the band's revolving casts to actually sound as though they're having a hell of a good time.
It's evident, though, that Eels is not yet ready to become a democracy and that E retains sole editorial power. On the album's strongest track and lead single "Peach Blossom," the influence of E's hero Tom Waits and Bone Machine (doubtless no coincidence that this is E's favourite album) is awesome without being overwhelming. If Tomorrow Morning was the sound of a man drawing a line under a tragic early life, then Wonderful, Glorious is the sound of him actively taking his own advice from 1998's "P.S. You Rock My World": maybe it's time to live. (www.eelstheband.com)
Author rating: 8.5/10
Average reader rating: 7/10
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