Mark Oliver Everett has a habit of releasing good albums, and Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire extends the streak. Here, he’s given us another collection of Eels songs overflowing with ideas, sharp hooks and biting writing. Everett has enough humor and angst for ten bands; the emotional ringer he puts his listeners through is always welcomed, and it always rings true.
That glorious tonal mix of Paul Westerberg/Ryan Adams helps Everett’s voice give weight to “That Look You Give That Guy” and “The Longing,” tracks that in lesser hands would be trite. That most of the record is bluesy, gritty, with guitars that give off a dull hum, also add gravitas to this set.
Lyrically? Well, what do titles like “My Timing Is Off,” “What’s a Fella Gotta Do,” and the country-tinged “All the Beautiful Things” suggest? There are songs here that express a loss of nerve, of illusions, of the power to not give in to lust. Rockers like “Prizefighter” and “Fresh Blood” have that sloppy but poignant Ray Davies thing going. Clearly Everett has not been happy of late. Either that or he’s been hanging around with some shady night owls with tales of woe to share with him.
Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire is another record that hones and refines what it means to be Eels. Mark Oliver Everett continues his daring and heart-baring, and we continue to be the better for it.