EELS – Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire (2009)

Eels - Hombre Lobo The key to Hombre Lobo’s power lays in its subtitle, 12 Songs of Desire; the songs here carry in them a profound sense of longing, sometimes bristling with melancholy, and sometimes with an ominous (borderline dangerous) sense of anxiety. The only contemporary band I can think of that could pull off an album like this and not sound ingenuine or hammy while doing it would be The White Stripes, and even Jack and Meg would probably end up oversimplifying things and lessening the weight and impact of the music in the process. It totally makes sense for E to have made this album when he did; considering how massive and all-encompassing Blinking Lights and Other Revelations was, a palette cleanser was sort of necessary – but E steers Hombre Lobo away from the musical doldrums and off into the glorious rock and roll horizon.

As I’ve said above, the album runs the gamut in terms of mood, but it’s effective no matter where E takes the material. The more understated songs like Ordinary Man and That Look You Give That Guy (predictably) have more of an emotional undercurrent, while the more uptempo songs like Prizefighter and Lilac Breeze (again, predictably) have more drive. Now, this is all pretty standard – damn enjoyable, but standard. It’s when E takes things down the weird road that Hombre Lobo truly shines. Lead single Fresh Blood is troubling, sensual, and addictive, and it stands apart from pretty much everything else on the album. As unusual as the song is, it fits in the context of the album, which makes it all the more remarkable.

Hombre Lobo might very well disappoint some for its simplicity, but there’s a good chance that those who feel that way haven’t heard the newest release by The Answer. I’d like to impart a lesson: if you’re channeling the rock spirit, you’ve gotta sound natural while doing it – Hombre Lobo (as its title suggests) is as natural as wolf and man.

One Response to “EELS – Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire (2009)”

  1. […] – End Times (2010) When last we left E & co. (about six months ago), they were making songs that were propelled by a dangerous sensual energy; sure, some of these […]

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