I know that The Eels have been around for quite a few years, but the only song that I can place to them would have to be off their Electro-Shock Blues album, “Last Stop: This Town”. Lets just say that this album has nothing to do with this track, as the music captured on tracks like “Theme From Blinking Lights” and “From Which I Came” look more to different eras of Beck than anything. The first time that The Eels really break out of that song comes in “Son Of A Bitch”, an Oedipal/incestuous-themed tracks that uses sounds reminiscent of slide guitars to get through to their listeners the tremendous emotional investment on the track. The band finally reaches a peak during the throaty-vocal led track “Blinking Lights (For Me)”, a track so tenuous and thin that a misplaced breath feels like it would blow away the masterfully created structure. Even considering the mopey-rock sound of “Blinking Lights”, there is an infectious pop groove that works its way through tracks like “Trouble Like Dreams”, which mixes equal parts sixties pop and Mellencamp-like vocals.
The bombastic nature of “In The Yard, Behind The Church” is moderated by its skillful insinuation into the rest of the track: listeners are not going to be left up on that ledge without a way to get down from the band’s sponsored euphoria. The ability of the Eels to assume different sounds, some of which may seem antithetical to each other (for example, the sixties-pop and the alt-country that come to be such strong forces on the disc), shows a maturity to the band and an understanding of their audience.
Even in its current state (Which would cause conniption fits for the FCC), “The Other Shoe” is perhaps the nearest to perfection that The Eels get on this two-disc connection. The rapidly-increasing tempo and dense sound really allows listeners to get lost in everything that the band commits to disc. This ambitious double-disc really makes the case for mew and no doubtedly other listeners to bone up on their Eels knowledge and perhaps actually picck up the host of other discs that the band has put out in the last decade. Honestly, how can one go wrong with the REM-esque “Going Fetal”, especially when the track mixes Spike Jonze and “Hot Buttered Popcorn”?
Top Tracks: Going Fetal, The Other Shoe
The Eels – Blinking Lights and Other Revelations / 2005 Vagrant / http://www.eelstheband.com / http://www.vagrant.com / Reviewed 24 May 2005