x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Eels: Wonderful, Glorious

A carefree, accessible record from the consistently engaging indie rock band.

The 10th album by this consistently engaging outfit marks a journey into uncharted territory, both musically and physically. Wonderful, Glorious was recorded in their spacious new Californian studio, rather than the cramped basement that added a claustrophobic air to their previous works. As the title suggests, this is a more carefree, accessible affair, written largely as they went along and with the enigmatic Mark Everett allowing his band greater creative input. Does the unique Eels spirit survive the shift? Well, avid fans may fear the worst at first, as the enjoyably uncomplicated rock ‘n’ roll of Open My Present, for example, seems to offer little room for Everett’s famously confessional, cathartic lyrics. As ever with Eels, though, darkness looms. The singer admits to being in a downbeat state leading up to these sessions, and even his attempts at optimism drip with bile. “You know what, I’m in a good mood today” begins the bluesy New Alphabet, before he lambasts “small-thinking people” and concludes with some finality that “I’ll live today, like tomorrow I’m dead”. It’s a long way from Good Day Sunshine.