In the eyes of die-hards who inhale each passing release, it doesn't matter a great deal what a new Eels album sounds like; Mark E. Everett’s place in the great American alternative songbook is already assured, regardless of any missteps he might have made since his ’96 breakthrough. Since Everett can write a blissful country ballad in his sleep, it’s often the louder sounds that mark out an Eels album, and so it proves here.
Bombs Away grabs you by your grubby shirt lapels and demands that you'd ‘better listen, cause you just might learn,’ while the title track proves Everett can still pull off arena-ready pop without breaking a sweat. And the fuzz bass on Peach Blossom? HUGE. Wonderful, Glorious perhaps won’t lure in too many newcomers, but it’s sure to keep those acquainted with Mr E's Beautiful Blues well satisfied. On those terms, this is a notch above Eels’ batting average, and a work few contemporary indie rock bands could better. [Stu Lewis]