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Classic Album Review: Eels | Souljacker

The eccentric singer-songwriter transforms into a bearded, Unabomberish oddball.

This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Now that Beck has traded in his thrift-store buckskin for a disco leisure suit, who’s gonna get crazy with the Cheez Whiz? Why, E is, of course.

The single-lettered oddball — also known as Mark Everett — was coughing up fuzzy little hairballs of twisted folk-hop, mutant freak-rock and poignantly fractured pop back when Beck really was a loser. After venturing into darker, introspective territory on his last couple of outings, Souljacker finds Everett transformed from mournful nerd to bearded, Unabomberish crank. Backed by a band that includes P.J. Harvey’s guitarist John Parish, Everett croaks, groans, moans and howls his way through a dozen bleeping, clanking, buzzingly beautiful odes to dog-faced boys, friendly ghosts and teenage witches. “Daddy was a troubled genius / Mama was a real good egg,” he says. No wonder he’s so scrambled.

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