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Sunday, 18 March 2012

3. Eels - Souljacker (Part 1)

When you read Mark Oliver Everett's book 'Things the Grandchildren Should Know', everything becomes so much clearer. In short, he's had a tough life. He goes down into his cellar and produces music as an antidote to the depression caused by the various deaths of his parents and sister that have shaped his very existence. The Eels music come straight from the heart and in the tradition of all the best music, it 'needs' to be made, rather than needs to be made to pay the bills.

And yet nobody likes Eels. The foremost musical genius of the 21st Century and nobody outside my immediate family could care less. Even Evlkeith can't stand him. Reviews state that Everett has been overtaken by bands like The Flaming Lips or Bright Eyes because they compromise and throw in the odd commercial single with their self indulgent musing, but why is this a thing to aspire to? I would go as far as saying that virtually all of Eels output is worthy of being released as a single apart from some of the instrumental tracks on the Levity Soundtrack, and that includes the solo 'E' album, MC Honky and 'Useless Trinkets'. Every Everett song is a polished little parcel of goodness and in a bizarre congruence of views, this is virtually the only thing that myself, wife and daughter of Doccortex actually agree on.

Like a mature Johnny Cash, Dylan in his prime or American Pie with Don Mclean, Mark Oliver Everett is the current voice of American Folk. His albums are always unquestionably Eels albums, but each has its own distinct and wonderful flavour, with the only certainty that his voice will grow gruffer with each release. They record his geeky beginnings (Beautiful Freak), explore his grief (Electro Shock Blues), rock out (Souljacker), produce his magnum opus (Blinking Lights), analyse his passion (Hombre Lobo) and contemplate the end (End Times). The journey has been arduous, but it has taught me so much and I've loved every minute.

So what do you choose as your favourite Eels track when there are so few duffers? 'Guest List' for the Summer holiday memories? The anguish of 'Dead of Winter'? The soundtrack to the Stoke play off victory 'Mr. E's Beautiful Blues'? Or the spooky future predictions of 'End Times'? No it has to be the joyous offbeat, beardy rock classic that is 'Souljacker'. Mark Oliver Everett we salute you.


  1. Again, I haven't heard all their material. For me, Flyswatter by Eels is an excellent track. More recently, I thought "I'm a Hummingbird" was haunting