Eels: Hombre Loco CD review (Shockhound)

The music made by Mark Oliver Everett (aka E, aka the man who, for all intents and purposes, IS Eels) manages to be self-referential and secretive in equal measures. Everett’s personality is never completely revealed, but as his oeuvre has expanded over the years, as the tint of soul-baring that colors his work becomes more and more pronounced; still, one never quite knows if it’s Everett who’s doing the baring, or if it’s one of his characters. On HOMBRE LOBO, the conundrum becomes more convoluted, as the entire album is a concept album told from the perspective of one of the characters from a previous Eels song (the “Dog Faced Boy” from 2001’s SOULJACKER). But, as Everett himself has become something of a dog-faced man lately with a dense beard and a vocal tic that manifests itself with lycanthropic howls on cuts like “Tremendous Dynamite” and “Prizefighter,” it again becomes a bit fuzzy as to whether we’re hearing about the trials and travails of a fictional creation or not. Regardless of the inspiration, HOMBRE LOBO does find Everett again digging into the straightforward indie rock that made his earlier work so appealing, and with his recent penchant for orchestral filigree stripped away, HOMBRE LOBO comes across as a fantastic piece of folksy and confessional pop …regardless of who, exactly, is doing the confessing.

First appeared June 2, 2009 at Shockhound.com.

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