Mark Everett (aka Eels) has written albums about family death/illness (not as bleak as it sounds, but dark nonetheless), knows his way around an uplifting pop song and, on Hombre Loco (2009), alternated searing Neil Young-rock with disarming ballads to parallel the Jekyll and Hyde nature of our base and sublime desires. Everett can be into difficult-to-follow concepts, but you can hook in for one album and try him for size.
This might be the right fit for many: Peach Blossom pulls together White Stripes/Black Keys basement blues with a cute melodic flourish; On the Ropes and The Turnaround are throaty, alt-country acoustic ballads ripe for melancholy Mark Knopfler fans; and the guitar-grit then string-embellished New Alphabet ("I'm in a good mood today", riiight) allows the misanthrope out with "when the world stop making sense, just take what you can get".
At such times Everett - as on Hombre Loco - snaps between positive and negative poles and creates sparks in between. Bilious pop is married with quietly distorted ballads (the lovely and tuneful whirlpool of I Am Building a Shrine) and the never-convincing sentiment of the folk-funk Beach Boys title track.
Loyalists should love this because it's evidence for unconvinced friends of Eels/Everett's peculiar pop (and not) gifts. A real good 'un.
Verdict: Another slithering into the subconscious
- elsewhere.co.nz/ TimeOutBy Graham Reid Email Graham