Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Eels – Fresh Blood

His head is getting fire-trucked once again…


David Raposa: A goth Beck with a hopeless fetish for pat end-rhymes discovers Massive Attack & Portishead for the first time, burns all his Kills CDs.

Hillary Brown: Oh my god this is horrible. Fuzzy, stupid, sloppy, self-consciously dark, and just generally calculated to make me whine in pain.

Sophie Green: It thuds, it throbs – AND it howls. In short, it’s awesome.

Anthony Easton: Have I told you lately how much I love kick drums? They are like being pummeled in the heart, and that whole talking slow thing makes the sentences sound much more profound here then when Morrison tried it. The woowoo screams, the Gothic love of the vampiric, the electronic beats, and then it revs up and goes sort of wild around the three minute mark. It’s all high camp nonsense, but exquisitely done.

Chuck Eddy: I gather Mr. E is considered eccentric in certain circles, but to me, the guy’s sensibility just seems pedestrian (but then I tend to think that about lots of solitary studio-pop “geniuses” — never much got Todd Rundgren, either) and this song is evidence in my favor. My points are mainly for the rhythmic stuff that happens whenever somebody shouts “whoooh!”

Alex Ostroff: Hombre Lobo‘s first single is as mellow as most of Eels’ oeuvre but has a significantly darker vibe to it. Underwhelming at first, the creeping bass synths and touches of haunted house surf guitar set the mood, putting the listener at ease just long enough for the primal howls to be genuinely unsettling. It ends in a trance-y place that makes me desire nothing more than to hear this in the middle of a DJ set right up against Zero.

Ian Mathers: I’m not sure when E thought it would be a good idea to try and be scary, or why he thought he could pull it off, but the yells and howls on “Fresh Blood” are the worst part. This would have been better off if they just kept it percolating along, and even then it’s middling.

Edward Okulicz: The intriguing and creeping bassline and noir touches of guitar are very pleasant here, but I’m not entirely convinced that it needed to be this choppy. E sounds wimpy, far removed from the compelling narrator of psychological torment he once was. There are things to like here, mind you, the build is ugly in an interesting way, but you could cut this song’s runtime in half without losing much. Hell, 10 years ago, they would have cut the song down to two minutes long…

Colin Cooper: Some may say it’s remarkable Eels are still making music at all; I’d say it’s just a bit silly for them to still be releasing singles. Despite its more or less non-existent commercial appeal, there’s a lot to like about “Fresh Blood”: that fuzzy four-note bassline, the lazy (slightly jazzy?) guitar licks in the first verse, the electronic beats underpinning the refrain, the howling, E’s beard… none of it is GREAT, but it’s all good.

Michaelangelo Matos: I knew there would come a day when I, too, would succumb to the dead end of the imagination that is this comparison: “It kind of sounds like Morphine.” Which a lot of it does — the verses and chorus, minus the saxophone, that honking stutter beat and muffled vocal. Then it hits an instrumental bridge that’s actually kind of spooky. Another reason I bring up another band here is that I’ve only heard one or two Eels songs and never remember what they sound like.

Additional Scores

Matt Cibula: [2]
John M. Cunningham: [6]
Martin Skidmore: [3]

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