7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Music from the heart,
This review is from: Electro-Shock Blues (Audio CD)
Electro-Shock Blues is a pleasant surprise..I was expecting an entire albums worth of bleak, whiny confessional acoustically strummed pieces with the invention and sprightlyness of their debut album all but gone. The beats and rockier moments are still there, but the adversion to the quiet/loud post grunge style has pretty much disappeared...Eels have moved on in this album, which in alot of ways is a good thing as gives the album it's own indivuality without sounding like they are trying too hard to be a different band.There is also a lot more emphasis as expected on more simplistic, reflective pieces..though as I said I was expecting the album to be somewhat even more based in that style.
The harrowing confessional of Elizabeth On The Bathroom Floor sets the bleak tone for the album, but it's a relief to hear that the albums darkness can be put across in different ways such as the throbbing bass of the almost country like structured Going To Your Funeral Part I. Whilst the swirling chaos of Cancer For the Cure and the infectious yet poignant Last Stop: This Town are songs every bit as catchy as the most immediate songs on Beautiful Freak. Explorative songwriting is still shown through the jazz like Hospital Food, the backwards recording tecniques in Efils God and the atmospheric the Medication Is Wearing off, whilst My Descent Into Madness succesfully combines a hip hop beat and a sampled string section without descending into sounding like a tired over produced R&B song.
There are of course plenty of more simplistic moments throughout the album such as the heart-breaking title track, that is so simple and sparse but yet so poignant. Going To Your Funeral Part II is a suitably down-beat instrumental interlude and Climbing to the Moon is one of those songs that does not grab you at first but takes a hold of you with its soulful emotion the more it goes on. And there are more simple confessional types such as 3 Speed and Dead of Winter splattered across the albums 16 tracks.Even though some of these lesser tracks are not exactly classics, they do help solidify what the album is about as Electro-Shock Blues is almost like a concept album, without really pandering to be a concept album.
Beautiful Freak remains Eels best album in terms of an enjoyable set of songs but Electro-Shock Blues is the bands and more to the point E's most important work..it's a window into his mind, and a closure on a dark period of his life. Thankfully E has managed to make this album also an enjoyable but heart-warming/
heart-breaking experience for the listener. Yes the album is down beat both musically and more to the point lyrically, but it rarely descends into being a whiny down paced affair, as the likes of Last Stop: This Town all but prove. (8)