Music: Souljacker

Eels

This bluesy wallop of an album is filled with songs about grotesques, but there's no danger of its turning into a rock-opera Winesburg, Ohio. That's because front man E (Mark Oliver Everett) chooses humor over bathos ("Ma won't shave me, Jesus can't save me," he growls on the superb Dog Faced Boy). Which is not to say he's snide; Friendly Ghost and Woman Driving, Man Sleeping are as sweet as anything in the James Taylor songbook--they're just not saccharine. The lyrics float over an array of power chords, samples, overdubs and scratches--no two songs sound alike--but it's not musical bricolage. Just...

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