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.
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!
on 27 September 2015
Quick delivery and looked like new. A decent cd from eels - more upbeat and the quirky humour I always liked on Soul-jacker and "Daisies". After some rather downbeat and dull efforts good to see E back on form. For those new to Eels, try Shootananny or the previous two mentioned and if like me you find the mix of rock and intelligent lyrics that are unusually insightful then you are onto a winner.
on 10 July 2013
Bought this with high expectations, especially as I'd seen the band when they were last in the UK (not 2013) and it certainly lived up to my hopes.
The man can really still rock, and played loud on the road this is a great rockin album; the bonus disc is good, too. But, as always, E has that ability to mix quiet, thoughtful tracks alongside gritty ones.
Stand-outs? 'Stick together' off the album; and 'That's not really funny' off the bonus disc.
Might have been nice to have had a few more live tracks, but overall a fine album.
on 7 October 2013
Having listened to this album a few times now I must say that this is a terrific record! The lyrics and themes are optimistic and positive while the music is indeed wonderful/glorious!
This listener likes all of the tracks but personal favourites include the wistful 'Accident Prone' the bluesy 'The Turnaround', the defiant 'On the ropes' the single 'New Alphabet' and the sublime 'I am building a shrine'. Furthermore the album closes brilliantly with the uplifting 70s retro feel of 'Wonderful, Glorious' which leaves the listener bathing in a glow of optimisim and love.
I really like this record and I just hope and pray that Mark Everett continues to make wonderful music for many years to come! recommended to all Eels fans or music lovers in general!
N.B. The bonus disc that comes with the deluxe edition of the album is also superb that contains an interesting cover of The Lovin' Spoonful's 'Summer In The City'. Thanks for reading friend.
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.
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.
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!!!
on 16 May 2013
of course its going to be great.
The Eels rock, Mark 'E' Everett just gets better and better.
I wonder if the power is in the beard.
If someone did a Samson and Delila on him do you think he would lose all that musical power?
I hope not
Eels for the win
on 1 May 2013
I love this album, after being disappointed with some of Es more recent self indulgent rubbish sold under the pretence of challenging music. This is genuinely well thought through with lots of interesting tracks.