Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
on 4 December 2013
I have loved Eels ever since "Beautiful Freak" burst onto the music scene in the mid-90s and completely changed my musical world. I've been buying every release by them since then and there have been very few disappointments, thanks to Mark 'E' Everett's fantastic songwriting and his high artistic standards. Eels albums tend to be a cut above most other albums released and "Wonderful, Glorious", their 10th studio album, is no exception. This is quite a heavy blues-rock dominated album and has more of a band feel to it, rather than simply being a vehicle for what can sometimes seems like an Everett solo project and, as such, there are plenty of band co-writes for the tracks. I find this quite an exciting record, most of the tracks get the adrenaline pumping and it's perfect for listening to get you all set for a night out or just to get the household chores done to. Of course, it wouldn't be an Eels album without a few dark tales of pathos and there just enough stories of hurt and woe to satisfy those who crave E's trademark bittersweet balladry.
More than half of the tracks on offer here are absolutely top-quality. Thumping tom-toms announce this album's rocking intent and the fuzzy, scratchy "Bombs Away" kicks off the music in a slightly low-key, menacing way. "Kinda Fuzzy" has a few great riffs and a superb groove, "Peach Blossom" is surely one of the best Eels tracks ever, despite it's relative simplicity, boasting a formidable, powerful riff, thundering drums and a catchy vocal hook and the emotive "The Turnaround" has a brilliant refrain that builds to a smouldering climax. The pounding "Stick Together" is a marvellous aural assault, "True Original" is absolutely gorgeous, a magnificent composition on the same level as "That Look You Give That Guy" (from "Hombre Lobo") and "Open My Present" is a mighty riff-driven moody blue-rock monster. "You're My Friend", a tribute to a particular friendship, really is quite a genuinely sweet song, without falling into the trap of over-sentimentality, the delicately beautiful "I Am Building A Shrine" is the track most like the early Eels sound on this album and the stellar title track, "Wonderful, Glorious", ends the album with an accomplished string-laden flourish, almost saving the best until last.
To surmise, this is a great album. The bonus disc on the deluxe edition is great value and very much worth having, with some good, exclusive studio songs and eight great live tracks. It is perhaps not the greatest Eels album ever made (there are a handful of albums which have a more worthy claim to that title), but it really is an excellent, thoroughly enjoyable piece of work (and enjoyable isn't something you can always say about an Eels album) that probably just squeezes into my top five releases by Everett and his band. I'd confidently say that it's Eels' best album since the incredible "Blinking Lights and Other Revelations". I suppose that, at this stage of their career, they're not likely to win many new fans because it's not exactly news that a long-established artist has released yet another excellent record, but this is so much better than the vast majority of albums released this year. Not as exciting as a brand new, talented artist with unknown potential, of course, but much more satisfying and accomplished than most of the younger "big names" that dominate the album charts. This really does exactly what it says on the tin... "Wonderful, Glorious", indeed!