A Man Called E And His “Wolfman” Beard

I don’t know if hipsters fall all over themselves for Eels anymore, but they would if they knew what was good for them.

Mark Oliver Everett (or, simply, E) brings a perspective to art that only a son of a renowned quantum physicist could.  Fronting the band Eels for the last 13 years (following the release of two quirky solo recordings), E has crafted a sound that can draw anyone in for repeated listenings.  While a mainstream audience is not likely to ever appreciate Eels’ music, odds are pretty good that E is just fine with that.

He certainly hasn’t spent much time worrying about it over the last few years, penning a well-received memoir, “Things The Grandchildren Should Know”, as well as filming an excellent hour-long BBC television documentary about his father, titled “Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives”.

But he is back to his first love with this month’s release of Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire

Eels "Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire"

Eels "Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire"

The album title references the inspiration that his “wolfman” beard provided for the new material on Eels’ seventh studio album.

Says E, “I was working on some other music, and I looked in the mirror one morning and I saw this werewolf staring back at me. And I thought, ‘You know, this beard doesn’t really suit the music I’m working on currently. I should cut it off.’ And then, at the last minute, it occurred to me, ‘Well, why don’t I just make some music that suits the beard, and I’ll keep it.’ ”

That should give you some insight into what Eels are all about, but this week provided additional opportunities for even greater perspective with an NPR feature/interview (the source of the above quote), an appearance on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic (with accompanying video to get a good view of that beard), and a 3-part interview with Filter Magazine .

Eels fans have been eagerly awaiting the music and these promotional appearances are a perfect way to supplement the experience of appreciating a fresh set of tunes.  And while the music may not qualify as “buzz-worthy” anymore, that might be all the more reason for novices to get to know E and Eels without all the noise and preconceptions that come along with the hype.

E is definitely an odd dude, but the bottom line is that the music prevails.  Take some time to experience for yourself what he and Eels are all about.

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~ by acm213 on June 5, 2009.

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