From dog boy to werewolf

Louisa Feiter

Eels – That Look You Give That Guy from Youtube

The album Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire from The Eels starts with a voice like a scratched vinyl record and a beat that sets your foot tapping. It demands your full attention which the occasional lupine howl from Mark Oliver Everett is sure to get (true to the name of the album, which is the Spanish for werewolf). However, within one song it settles down to a mellow intro and a voice that lulls you into complacency. This juxtaposition continues throughout the album; one minute you?re listening to Everett?s voice crooning in your ears, the next a hard-hitting, energising beat jolts you back to full attention.

This is no background music album. Hombre Lobo tells the story of the longing for and desire of Everett?s conception of a character ? that of ?a dignified old werewolf? ? for his muse. This is a continuation from his song Dog Faced Boy (from the album Souljacker); the hirsute figure Everett portrays throughout the album being the grown-up version of this initial dog/boy character. And to fully appreciate what Everett so heartrendingly relates within his ?12 Songs of Desire?, one should give it one?s full attention.

With its recurring mellow guitar riffs and steady beats, Hombre Lobo swings between hauntingly beautiful (In My Dreams) to rasping howls of wretchedness as the protagonist is frustrated by his yearnings (Fresh Blood, Longing). As Everett puts it, Hombre Lobo is all about ?What steers you to want to not be alone. The desperate need to connect?sometimes your instincts become unbearable.? This feeling is not that hard to understand and which make this album so accessible.

Stylistically much hasn?t changed since the last Eels album but why revise a formula that works? Everett?s sometimes gruff, sometimes crooning voice still reaches inside you and touches that locked away tender, melancholic spot. The familiarity is comforting and the lupine howls and slightly static overlay of the songs add a darker edge that should satisfy those that are looking for something different. The lyrics could have been a little less clich?? ? rhyming isn?t the be all and end all ? however their delivery makes up for that and one can easily forgive The Eels for not coming up with more original verses once you?re sitting down and listening to the album.

Even though there was a 4 year lapse between Blinking Lights and Other Revelations and Hombre Lobo, The Eels have not been sitting idly around: the delivery of this album is the testimony of that. It is an album that deserves a place in your CD collection ? right next to all their other great albums.

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