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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
Wonderful, Glorious
Format: MP3 Download|Change

on 6 February 2013
After 9 studio albums, a handful of live albums, a couple of compilations and a whole heap of soundtrack work, Mr E could easily call it a day. He's had such a prolific musical output, not to mention writing an autobiography, making a documentary for the BBC and touring extensively - and he's not even 50 yet. And with all this prominence, and all the great reviews his work gets, Eels are a massively unappreciated group. They seem to have always been that band who 'did that one song that I heard in a movie'. But they're so much more than that. It's so inspiring that E never gave up, but not only has he not given up, he's just put out his best album in years.

Wonderful, Glorious is a beast of an album. It steams ahead at great speed, throwing around a seemingly endless amount of ideas and sounds. The music sounds like an energetic young band's debut album. After E's trilogy, this sounds invigorated with soul, life and freedom. It's not refined by fears and worries. E is more powerful than ever with his full band behind him; the Chet's guitar work is fabulous with beautifully distorted and crunchy chords, Knuckles' pounding, bass-drum-heavy drumming bringing the album real guts. We all know E is a wonderful solo artist, but these guys truly bring out the best in him. I saw Eels in London in 2011, and I was totally blown away by the chemistry these guys had, and they've totally replicated that on this disk. It doesn't sound shiny and polished; it sounds gritty and live, in the best way possible. It's a sort of traditional rock 'n' roll album, but c'mon: its Eels. How traditional are they gonna be? It may be rock 'n' roll, but it's not simply that; it's EELS' own version of rock 'n' roll, so expect E's trademark pipe organs and keyboards to show up, and of course his almost sinister yet dreamy electronic clicks, whirs and wails, which fit somehow perfectly next to the physical instruments. (In this way, some of the album reminds me of my most dearly missed band, Grandaddy who should NEVER have broken up, dammit!)

As well as the album being cohesive and having a wonderful fluidity to it, the tracks work stand alone just as well. You can listen to the whole thing and maybe, like I did, feel a sense of utter joy and catharsis by the end of it. Or, listen to the tracks individually. They work just as well. 'Peach Blossom' is the obvious single of the album, but it's easy to see why. Man, wrap a pair of good headphones round your ears, turn up the bass and volume and you're gonna have an insanely good time with this track. It gave me the biggest goosebumps ever. I've never had such a big smile on my face whilst listening to a song. The smile remained throughout the entire album, but turned into a sad smile with 'I am building a shrine'. Dude, that is a beautiful song. Too beautiful almost. You know when lyrics, a good voice and the music mix together and it almost seems too perfect? That's how I felt with this song. Other songs like 'Wonderful Glorious' brilliantly shake up the formula, with more funk-oriented grooves, highlighting E and the gang's very apparent love of black music of the 60's and 70's. They were right to follow their inspiration. Sometimes, you'll hear a bit of Tom Waits, sometimes you'll hear a 60's pop influence (especially on 'Stick Together'). This influence breathes life into the album.

'The Turnaround' was completely unexpected and to me, sounds unlike any previous Eels songs. It sounds vaguely familiar yet is totally new territory, without implementing any gimmicks or anything. It's a fairly basic but utterly gripping and the song builds upon the stark refrain '6 bucks in my pocket/and the shoes on my feet/the first step is out the door/and onto the street' to great power. It's incredible what these guys can do with such basic ideas. However, a couple of songs take a while to get and feel like perhaps they could've ended up on the (still very worthy) bonus disc. 'You're my friend' is quirky and fun, but sounds a little like a B-Side, and I found 'True Original' a tad forgettable - but hey, maybe a couple more listens and i'll end up loving them. I'll definitely be listening to them a lot this year, as a slightly lesser Eels song is still gold. And this is definitely not a lesser Eels album. This the freshest, most engaging eels album in years.

I am not going to end this review by saying that this album was wonderful and glorious because it's just too damn obvious. Although it is both of those things.
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VINE VOICETOP 500 REVIEWERon 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!
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on 5 February 2013
Here lies another deep emotional lyric filled album containing that same unique voice of Mr. E that bonds so well with the gritty guitar and familiar drum beat that gets your foot tapping without you realising.

Most of the Eels music is fresh and experimental, with various instruments, riffs and beats that create an album worth listening to. Yet some of the songs just don't do the band justice and I find them to be dreary and dull. The first three tracks opening this album are the latter, and I struggled to like them.

What I was expecting was a repeat of their ninth album Tomorrow Morning. And I thought that's what I was getting from these first three songs. But 'Peach Blossom' intrigued me and slid that assumption aside. The song begins with drums, heavy and crashing that started to reflect off some of their older albums. Throw in that familiar guitar and the lyric "you gotta love what's happening here," you, well, you begin to love what's happening!

'On The Ropes' softens down the album again, but the finger picking guitar melody keeps the song out of the land of dreary.
Next, The Turnaround..which doesn't turn the album around, but gives us another gentle tune, it's not dreary, but it's nothing special. There is a rise in tempo towards the end, with repeating lyrics, but nothing more.

'New Alphabet' starts more promising with guitar and a bouncy bass. Singing begins, then follows a light tinkle of dancing notes, totally unfamiliar to the rest of the song and yet fits so well. Then the chorus begins, it's emo-esque, upbeat, borderline aggressive. There is a two thirds of the way song break, no stranger to Eels, which starts a heavy beat then those dancing notes. I was foot tapping my way through.

Next we are introduced to a groovy guitar riff and a constant deep clatter of drums, as the start of 'Stick Together'. Mr. E has got it together finally. Although the chorus and tune became repetitive I still found myself grooving in a bizarre bob. The clapping towards the end really helped!

Then we have another stare-out-the-window-thoughtfully-on-a-rainy-day song. Yet the sun is out on this one, shining because of of Mr. E's relaxed voice and that gentle significant guitar, in 'True Original'. Reminds me a little of 'I'm Going To Stop Pretending That I Didn't Break Your Heart' only without the strumming guitar.

'Open My Present' growls the album back into life with gritty guitar and vocals. Whilst 'You're My Friend' explores the bizarre creativity of E's ensemble, reflecting somewhat on earlier albums, but it is nothing superb.

'I'm Building a Shrine' has deep lyrics with a gentle and somewhat exciting melody.

The title track ends the album, with a wonderful foot tapping beat. There are some glorious drum build ups and I find the the two third of the way melody rather beautiful even with Mr. E's vocal shouting over the tune. It's a great song to finish the album with, but I wish more of the songs were like it. I realise it reflects on Mr. E's feelings in life but most of the album fails to stop me regretting buying the album.

Time and time again, whilst listening, I want to go and listen to Hombre Lobo or Souljacker, because I find the creativity in those albums much more refreshing and inspirational than this latest drivel, with exception to a few tracks.

I gave it three stars because some of it is good some of it is bad, but you wont find me listening to this unless I'm feeling a bit down, it's raining outside the window and I want some thoughtful grim music to listen to.
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on 4 February 2013
Give your ears a treat and listen to this album. Well done Mr 'E', another wonderful and glorious compilation of songs!
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on 10 February 2013
For the first four Eeel's Album "Beautiful Freak", "Electric-Shock Blue", "Daises of the Galaxy" & "Souljacker", E was in the zone, with really dark & personnel Lyrics, but melodic & catchy music creating a fascinating contrast, & for a short time they were untouchable.
Then came E's low-fi journey, now don't get me wrong, these were decent records, they were just pretty heavy going, it was almost as if E was trying to cut his nose off to spite his face.
But with "Wonderful.." E has made a partial return to those heady days, with an album with a much bigger sound, which I think adds a lot more dept to his musical palette.
Some of the highlight are "On the Ropes", a pretty heart-felt ballad, The light-hearted(?) "Open Present" although E may be singing about some bad experience when he was young, & "Wonderful, Glorious", which has a nice Beatle-est feel to it.
Comparing this record to E's back-catalogue, I would say as its as strong as "Blinking lights..".
So not the best album The Eels have ever released, but not bad for their 10th musical outing.

As for the bonus disc:

1. "Hold on to your Hat"
Is just a women congratulating you for buying the deluxe version of the record!

2 .Your Mama Warned You
3. I'm your Brave Little Soldier
4. There's something strange
5. Happy Hour (We're Gonna Rock)
These tracks are all previous unreleased, but are all strong enough to feature on the main album (I suppose it's a subjective thing)

6. That's Not really Funny
7. In my Dreams
8. Prize-fighter
9. Looking up
Taken from a live concert, great versions but always frustrating that you only hear a small section of the show.

10. What I have to offer
11. I like the way this is going
12. Spectacular Girl
13. Summer in the city.
Records from a live radio session, nothing to write home about, an interesting mournful (if there any other way with E) version of loving spoonful's "Summer in the City".

The new songs on the bonus disc are defiantly worth spending that extra couple of pounds to purchase.
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on 5 February 2013
Eels last album was 2010 so to quote E from the first track "I've been quiet as a church house mouse", so it's been quite a wait!

The main album is a real mixed bag with songs of anger (Bombs Away & On The Ropes) with lines like "I've had enough of being complacent, I've had enough of being the mouse" and "I've got enough fight left inside this tired heart to win this one and walk out on my feet" to touching romantic songs (True Original & I Am Building a Shrine. So what's been happening in his life I ask - who knows!

Mark Everett is one of the cleverest modern lyricists in my opinion, often using his personal experiences as inspiration (never illustrated better than with Susan's House on Beautiful Freak, his first album under the name Eels) and he certainly delivers here, but he has done better, hence four stars only.

I am delighted with the deluxe version of this album as it is the first time that a new album from E actually has a full length bonus of CD of over 40 minutes, and what a CD it is. There is an amusing introductory track flattering the purchaser for being so wise to buy the special edition! This is followed by some great studio tracks before launching into the live material, and for those that don't know, Eels can certainly rock-out live (Check out the live DVD on Useless Trinkets B-Sides, Soundtracks, Rarities and Unreleased)

The packaging is standard fare for Eels these days, a fold-out digipak with a booklet of lyrics. There's an amusing note at the back which reads "Laugh as your download only friends are stumped by the following facts" when listing the credits!!

All in all then a very good album, and well worth the few extra pence for the special edition - get it while you can.
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on 5 July 2013
Eels history seems to be repeating itself. The trilogy of albums that precedes 'Wonderful, Glorious' followed an emotional cycle from extroverted rock and ballads (Hombre Lobo) to maudlin introspection (End Times) through to optimistic recovery (Tomorrow Morning) that seemed to mimic Eels' earliest albums (Beautiful Freak, Electro-Shock Blues and Daisies of the Galaxy, respectively). 'Daisies of the Galaxy' was followed up with the guitar-laden and barn-storming 'Souljacker' and in a way 'Wonderful, Glorious' follows this pattern, being very much a balls-out, grizzled, straight-up blues rock record.

Most of the songs have been written during sessions with the whole band and this really shows in that maybe for the first time in their career this really sounds like a rock band; not just songs by E arranged to be performed by others. I'm not saying if that's good or bad, but it certainly makes for a different record. Some of the production and overall sound hark back to classic rock of the 70s - listen to the warm guitar on tracks like 'Wonderful, Glorious' or the organ and percussion during the build-up on 'The Turnaround'. As some others have said, the songs are a bit of a slow burn, but repeat listens reveal some highlights: 'Peach Blossom' is head and shoulders my favourite, with a seriously satisfying fuzzy bass groove. 'New Alphabet' and 'Bombs Away' also stand out as top tunes.

Tough and tender, with serious attitude and swagger, 'Wonderful, Glorious' is another great and unique addition to the Eels catalogue.

PS - It is well worth the extra money for the 2-disc edition - following a spoken intro you get four more new studio songs as well as storming live versions of some Eels classics old and new.
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on 19 February 2013
Better than the last 3 or 4 albums, but that wouldn't be difficult. I got the deluxe version with a few live songs thrown in, which made it slightly more bearable. Not great
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on 12 April 2013
This is a slow burner of an Eels album. Initially, you wonder if Mr E will ever get back to the heights of Blinking Lights, following the slightly underwhelming trilogy of Hombre Lobo (especially disappointing), End Times and Tomorrow Morning. But rest assured, with this one he does, once you allow it to settle in and make itself at home.

It’s a more ‘rock’ album than we’re used to, confirmed by the current live set, which features just about all of it, and just about all of its personnel, and which is played loud. But E’s gift for tunes is undimmed beneath the volume, along with his gift for the arresting lyric. You can see all that encapsulated here in The turnaround, one of the best things he’s ever done: the closing, ascending, repeated ‘Six bucks in my pocket…’ motif will have you out of your seat. And it’s not the only highlight: the title track, the album’s closer, repeats his custom of ending albums on an uplifting note – as it ends the main part of the live set. There are others, but you don’t want a list of tracks you haven’t heard. Hear them!

I bought the ‘deluxe’ edition with the bonus disc, and just for once, you get a bonus disc that’s really worth having: four studio tracks, including I’m your brave little soldier, which features in the live set, and some very worthwhile live cuts, especially the storming version of Prizefighter, which is also currently featuring. I’ve played it almost as much as the ‘real’ album. But not quite. E on the ropes? Not a bit of it. This is a great American artist at somewhere near the top of his game.
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on 18 March 2013
I have been an avid fan since 1996 and thought E may have overstretched himself with the previous trilogy of albums (though I really thought Tomorrow Morning was excellent)and then BLAM he hits us with thirteen cracking songs full on hope, angst, joy and damn good melodies!!! Opening with Bombs Away Mr. E informs us that he is no longer a church house mouse (was he ever?)you better watch out he's back. He really throws us some brilliant tunes, listen to Peach Blossom and not have a smile on your face, the final minute and a half of this song is pure melodious delight. He then hits us with "On the Ropes" a beautiful refrain about him handling life and all that it throws at him, absolutely brilliant and if that wasn't enough he hits you with the pivitol rock of the album, "The Turnaround" it's an absolute classic block building crescendo of a song that resonates with rigour against the world. It doesnt stop after this instant classic as E hits us with a slew of stunning lyrical and melodic tunes ending with a superb 60's feel " I am Building a Shrine". I personally think the weakest song is the title track "Wonderful, Glorious" which seems to have been tacked on to the end of the album and it really doesn't fit with the feel of the whole thing. That said I love this album to bits. E leaves us feeling that he really has come to terms with his life and is really in a happy place at the moment. But with E who knows how long this will last. Wonderful, Glorious, Genius indeed!!!
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