Eels – Shootenanny

July 17th, 2003
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Acoustic and Electric EELS

Mark Oliver Everett (you can call him “E”) is the driving force behind EELS. He writes, performs and produces almost all of the songs on EELS newest album Shootenanny! All of his songs are heavily soaked in that old blues / country / American folk roots sound (hmm, starting to bring Beck to mind?) but he isn’t opposed to dabbling with electronics and drum machines without betraying his primary influences. E’s lyrics hint at lost love, drugs, and promiscuity and of course there’s the fact that E and Beck’s voices are so similar that they could be vocal stunt doubles.The one thing that E brings to Shootenanny! is his distinctive falsetto vocals that fans know from previous EELS releases. Though nothing amazing, E is an adequate songwriter who stays true to that overtly simple singer/songwriter formula, adding just enough layers to elevate him a slight notch above the rest of the crowd. There are a few moments on Shootenanny! where his bluesy pop really starts to achieve something bigger (see “Agony” and “Numbered Days”) but for the most part these songs are over before they really go anywhere. A good listen if only to tide you over until the next Beck release.

By Steve Mangione Posted in Reviews