Wonderful, Glorious

the New eels (album)

The making of Eels' latest record, "Wonderful, Glorious", was not a one-man show by E as we have experienced on so many other releases. One quickly realises: this has been a full-band effort, a collaboration of all the current members of the band. So how different might a record turn out to be when it's not done under the "my way or the highway" motto E so dearly loves/loved (?), but with the input of guitarists The Chet and P-Boo, bass player Koool G Murder and drummer Knuckles? The answer is: very!

The album's got a different kind of atmosphere one has been getting used to on previous releases. A new, jaunty and lively style works as the basis and foundation of these songs. The mixture of countless different instruments, sounds, noises, voices and rhythms produces a chaotic, yet pleasurable and enjoyable ride. Especially in regards to the last three Eels releases this is a definite improvement, as E and his colleagues have been very spontaneous and experimental, musically. In terms of the lyrics, sadly my fears have proven to be true. In my humble opinion E's somehow lost his genius talent of writing both amazingly honest and witty lyrics at some time during the '00s. Nevertheless, "Wonderful, Glorious" has turned out to be yet another great Eels album. Let's have a look at these new songs in more detail...

01 Bombs Away
A very powerful opener, something Eels albums almost always achieve quite perfectly. The song excites ones curiosity about the rest and definitely whets our interest about what's to come.
"I've had enough of being complacent, I've had enough of being the mouse" E sings here. "Bombs away!", he's "gonna shake the house". The typical scream, famous since E's "Hombre Lobo" songs, wouldn't have been necessary in my eyes, but it's still a great track. E warns: "and if you're not ready then you'll better get out now!"

02 Kinda Fuzzy
E continuous his attitude by warning the antagonist in this cool song: "I'm feeling kinda fuzzy, but I know I'm alright [...] Don't mess with me, I'm up for a fight". This is a quite experimental song; the key and pitch changes lead to a rather unstable, interesting vibe. The rhythmical change at the 2min mark adds to this state. At the end the song inevitably gets lost in its chaos...

03 Accident Prone
This is a very laid-back song, a nice follow-up to the previous ones and the perfect intro to "Peach Blossom". It's the typical, ironic E song, somehow feels like a b-side, though. "I was getting tired of always being alone, good thing that I've always been so accident prone"

04 Peach Blossom
"Oh man!!" This surely is one of the best tracks of the whole record, the clear and obvious first single. The cool, macho-like attitude of E speaking throughout this song and the fantastic beat - kudos to Knuckles - makes the perfect example of the new Eels. The rhythm change in the middle of the song reminds me of a similar method in"What is this Note", the classic, chaotic song on "Souljacker" (2001).

05 On the Ropes
This is the Eels we know and we've come to love. A very melodic song with lyrics very typical for E: "Watching the deaths of my hopes [...] "I'm not knocked out, but I'm on the ropes". It appears as if E wrote this song already a few years ago, but who really knows. It's the characteristical comeback story with a very nice melody - just a warm and cute little song. I love how the band harmonises with each other here. "I've got enough I'd left inside this tired heart, to win this one and walk out on my feet, no defeat!" This song is the calming and important change between the chaotic sounds of the previous tunes and the ones to come.

06 The Turnaround
From time to time Eels album tracks #6 ("Agony", "The Longing") are quite similar, in terms of their atmosphere and place within the album. It's the same with "The Turnaround", a relatively atypical song in the context of this album. It's a quite bluesy and very honest, bittersweet song. "I always bit the hand that beat me, and they wrote me off [...] Never trusted anyone, don't see why I should now" Also, it's the comeback story, again. "You're all gonna be sorry when I'll leave town, and get it together for the turnaround" I love the powerful finale of this song.

07 New Alphabet
Again, it's the cocky and macho-like E here, mostly speaking instead of singing."You know what, I'm in a good mood today" This track has got a fantastic chorus - it's one of the best on the record. Again, Knuckles is amazing here, as is The Chet on guitar. "When the words just sound like noise, I need a new alphabet, when the world stops making sense, I make a new alphabet"

08 Stick Together
The classic rock song with a simple chorus (We gotta stick together.") and a fitting bridge. It somehow reminds me of Elvis Presley. I like how E warns the girl:"You just get ready, this is the real show!" Even though it seems like E wrote this song in one afternoon, it's still great.

09 True Original
A relatively slow and gloomy song, but at the same time very sweet and tender. This is an ode to a special woman the protagonist in this song (E himself?) respects very very much. It's got to be one of the best songs on the album. "And if a gun was pointed at her, I would stand between the bullet and her, and if not being with me is what makes her happy, I'd take that bullet, too. [...] which path she finds it's hers to take, and if she says she's fine, I just have to wait for her [...] She's a true original"

10 Open my Present
"I wanna open my present!" This track marks the point where it's one song too much of the same on the album. It's quite similar to other songs on this album. "I know it's great, I just can't wait". The lyrics are not extremely innovative, but maybe that's the whole point of the song. It's quite fun, but still "Open my Present" turns out to be the weakest song on the album.

11 You're My Friend
"You're my Friend" is a experimental and sweet song. I very much like E's singing style here. I don't know why but for me it sounds like an homage to the Moog Cookbook remix of "Novocaine for the Soul".

12 I Am Building A Shrine
"I Am Building A Shrine, deep inside my heart, it's filled with all the little things, I'll take when I depart" In the chorus of this grand song he lists all these little things: "all the love you bring me, all the tender words you sing me, and all the songs within your smile [...] all the love that never dies". It truly is a very sweet song, Eels' best "soft-rock" track on the album.

13 Wonderful, Glorious
The title track. It embodies the fantastic end to the album. It fits perfectly. The whole band's doing background gospel voices here, I guess. The tune reminds me of Western movies or even the end of a Tarantino flick. This very laid back and cool song let's one reminisce about the last 50-odd minutes. Again, an amazing album closer on an Eels record; my guess is this will also be the concert closer on the upcoming tour.

In short, I am happily surprised about the outcome of this album. We all knew E desperately needed more input from different sources other than himself and I believe that's what makes this album unique. It's an adventurous, bold and sometimes quirky rock record. Well done, guys, I'm still with ya.

I for one hope for a different tour, one in contrast to the last two tours. I'd love a change to the loud, rock band E's lined up in 2010 and 2011. A nice, little soft-rock show á la "An Evening with Eels (2008)", whatcha think? It'd be quite fun to see how they managed to turn these rock songs into slower versions. But what do I know, eh? Either way, the concerts are going to be amazing, as always. Enjoy the new Eels record and enjoy yourself on the upcoming gigs.

PS: The lately released title track of the new Cirque du Soleil "Worlds Away" film called "Calling for your love' definitely would not have fit on this record. However, I think it's one of the best Eels songs in the last 5-7 years. Just my two cents...