Eels – Hombre Lobo

An excellent seventh. No appreciable spike in the chuckle count

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Hombre Lobo translates as “Man-wolf”: given that the declared ambition of Eels songwriter Mark “E” Everett in assembling this album was to write “about desire”, this was always going to be less hearts and flowers, more blood and thorns.

This incarnation of Eels – E, Koool G Murder, Knuckles – keeps faith with the band’s established sonic template of downbeat pop shrouded in distortion. “The Look You Give That Guy” and “What’s A Fella Gotta Do” are in the mould – and of the standard – of “3 Speed” and “Novocaine For The Soul”.
It’s E’s lyrics that are the true, bitter joy of this record, sacrificing nothing of their wit in pursuit of heartbreaking, heartbroken directness: “Every day I wake up and wonder why,” he sings, opening “All The Beautiful Things”, “I’m alone when I know I’m a
lovely guy.”

ANDREW MUELLER

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