Eels Mr E's Beautiful Blues(DreamWorks)

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Mr E's Beautiful Blues

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Mr E’s Beautiful Blues

Eels

Mr E’s Beautiful Blues [I](DreamWorks)[/I]

You can ride your luck but when things turn for the worse, it’s important not to get run over by it.

‘Electro-Shock Blues’ from 1998 was one of the most criminally overlooked albums of the last decade, depicting as it did the transformation of Eels singer E from a slightly preppy smart-arse into one of the most affecting singer-songwriters currently at work in pop music. Sure, he

wasn’t short of material to work with; the album depicted

the suicide of his mentally ill sister and the slow death of

his father from cancer and yet, with a master stroke of understatement, somehow E came up with one of the most life-enriching statements on love and mortality that pop music has ever produced.

His luck has improved somewhat recently – last year he only lost his mother – but that message of hope remains undiluted. Hence ‘Mr E’s Beautiful Blues’, wherein E surveys the cosmetic horrors of the world around him and still can’t help but see it all as something worthy of celebration.

[I]”Goddamn right it’s a beautiful day”[/I].

He’s encroaching into the territory of the once great Jonathan Richman, with songs that stubbornly resist melancholy and defy the current American vogue for histrionic angst. The music, meanwhile, is an effortless reworkimg of that hackneyed old ‘La Bamba’ riff with tinges of mariachi music, and a warmth that nods knowingly towards Talking Heads’ ‘Once In A Lifetime’ or REM’s still unrivalled masterwork, ‘Automatic For The People’.

In its entirety? A ‘Roadrunner’ for the new millennium.

Jim Wirth