Fine fifth studio album from Mr E

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Score 4

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The ragged blues tunes at Shootenanny!s start suggest E is burrowing further into the bleak wilderness of 2001’s Souljacker, the depression and family deaths that have dogged him killing off the pop beauty with which he once coated his songs. “Am I going to be alright? No, I’m not going to be alright,” he announces with finality on “Agony”. But that purgative song, with its worried, quivering guitars, in fact starts a redemptive surge back to musical life, the worst faced and pushed past. Even the apocalyptic LA of “Rock Hard Times” has energy, part of a 21st-century alienated soul album that slips the Eels back into your heart.