Album: Eels, Hombre Lobo (Polydor/Vagrant)

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The Independent Culture

Mark "E" Everett has steadily built a reputation as someone unafraid of confronting Big Questions, with early forays into themes of mental illness and death followed on 2005's monumental double-album Blinking Lights and Other Revelations with songs about God and "life itself, in all its beautiful, horrible glory".

Since then, he's written a remarkable autobiography and made an acclaimed documentary film about his quantum physicist father, before returning to music with this album of songs about desire – in all its beautiful, horrible glory, from the blurted, declamatory urges of "Prizefighter" and "Lilac Breeze" ("Got a hurt inside that I just can't heal; all I can do is feel, feel, feel") to the self-pitying "All the Bright Things" and "My Timing is Off", in which he acknowledges "we don't have a choice in matters of the heart". In "The Longing" he objectifies his unrequited obsession for a girl, turning the yearning into "a friend, a way to stay close", and employs horror-movie metaphors as lust becomes a vampiric urge in "Fresh Blood" and he transforms into a werewolf – the "hombre lobo" of the title – for "Tremendous Dynamite", delivered in a growl akin to Howlin' Wolf. As ever, he approaches his concerns with intelligence, wit and self-knowledge, allied to a deceptively unassuming melodic appeal.

Download this: 'The Look You Give That Guy', 'Tremendous Dynamite', 'All the Bright Things', 'In My Dreams'

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