Eels - Souljacker

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180 Gram Vinyl with Download. If irony could be traded like currency, Eels singer-songwriter E would be a wealthy man. As it is, his remarkable ability to filter out the mundane and focus on the fringes, where the really interesting cats dwell, guarantees he'll always have a career but will never be a household name. On 'Souljacker', E and the gang frame a motley assortment of characters with the sonic equivalent of a doodle pad--all random squiggles, free-floating words and phrases, disembodied hearts, and unblinking eyes. As such, unlikely bedfellows - 'Dog Faced Boy,' 'Friendly Ghost,' 'Bus Stop Boxer,' 'Woman Driving, Man Sleeping' - are bundled in a patchwork quilt of guitars, bass, drums, organ grinder-style synth, and quite possibly a toy piano and percussion. The unabashedly goo-goo-eyed ballad 'Fresh Feeling' launches with a swell of strings, just to underscore how dreamy our protagonist feels, and the spastic instrumental twitches on 'That's Not Really Funny' counter the song's title, while doubling as one of the few elements able to snap E's voice out of its vaguely narcoleptic drone. Ruggedly individual and wickedly catchy (not to mention more upbeat than the two death-obsessed albums preceding it), 'Souljacker' cements E's position as patron saint to the weird-and-weary-but-still-hopeful.