Wed Jun 3 2009
Time Out Ratings :<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5
Mark Oliver Everett has always shrouded himself in mystery and oddity—calling himself E, the man behind Eels now sports a Karl Marx--length beard—while conversely maintaining an accessibility that's been widely exposed through film and television, notably in all three Shrek films. Still, this conflict has contributed to a struggle when it comes to crafting balanced records. His last proper one, the bloated, 33-song affair Blinking Lights and Other Revelations, lit up a few times but was otherwise no revelation.
Perhaps hoping to remedy the situation, E has settled upon a theme reflected in the subtitle of his new Hombre Lobo: "12 Songs of Desire." Longing for love, affection and sex may not be as original a concept for an album as, say, a deaf, dumb and blind pinball champion—and really, aren't love and sex what most rock and pop songs are about?—but the restriction allows for some creative exploration. E presents men as wistful gentlemen and juvenile animals, respectively, in "That Look You Gave That Guy" and "Fresh Blood." In doing so, he deftly deconstructs a thinking man's fight with his inner beast (hombre lobo is the Spanish term for "werewolf").
Unfortunately, many of the ten remaining tracks retread the themes ad nauseam, or worse, too closely recall previous Eels tunes. On the upside, maybe Benicio del Toro can help E get a song into the upcoming Wolf Man remake.