Eels – Blinking Lights and Other Revelations

[Eels - BL&OR]And the doctor in the sky
Gonna bring his chopper down
Gonna bring me out alive
And set me on the ground
Once more again
– Blinking Lights (for me)

As album releases go, I don’t get more excited than when the Eels come out with something new. Every new disc is an experience. The latest effort from Mark Oliver Everett’s band is a 2-CD, 33 track with guest appearances by Tom Waits and Peter Buck.

To my untrained ear, the last two albums (Souljacker, Shootenanny!) by the Eels were rather disjointed, with a lot more flat out rock than their first three (Beautiful Freak, Electro-Shock Blues, Daisies of the Galaxy). BL&OR feels more like the earlier recordings, especially in that it has a much more personal aura. My first impression was a dreamier, more upbeat sounding version of Electro-Shock Blues. As for individual tracks, “Railroad Man” rates among my favorite songs. Also noteworthy are the dance-craze parody “Going Fetal” and “Old Shit/New Shit,” the story of life at a crossroads. Following the lead of prior albums, the new release finishes optimistically with the wisdom of “Things the Grandchildren Should Know.” It’s dangerous to claim that an album this new is one of my favorites ever, but I think this one will certainly belong in that class.

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