Eels

Souljacker

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    6
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AllMusic Review by

As with the band's previous albums, Souljacker bristles with pop euphoria and cracking production, and proves Eels' frontman, E, to be a superb songwriter, but just like those previous albums, Souljacker ultimately falls a bit flat over the course of its extended running time. Album opener "Dog Faced Boy" exemplifies the weaker half of the album's 12 tracks. Though it's a decent punk glam take on T-Rex dynamics, it doesn't exactly beg for repeat listens like the album's better half. "That's Not Really Funny," "Woman Driving, Man Sleeping," "Fresh Feeling," "Friendly Ghost," and "What Is This Note?" are as strong as any songs in the band's back catalog. On these songs, lush strings, found sounds, children's toys, spy themes, surf music, elaborate piano segments, and fuzzy harmonicas mingle in the band's trademark, innovative way. Easily besting almost anything in Beck's quirky bag of songs, these songs display the charm, polish, and sincerity of E's original vision. Sadly, there's too much skronking punk-pop noise in the remaining songs that serves to drag the album down. This limited-edition release adds a bonus disc of four songs, one of them superb, two of them downright horrible, and one of them a useless remix. Only "I Write the B-Sides" warrants seeking out the limited edition. Its opening lines show E at his most poignant and wise, as he sings "I write the B-sides that make a small portion of the world cry/I like the seaside and singing songs that make you not want to die." Punchy, exuberant, and smart, the song would have made perfect sense on Souljacker in place of the somewhat mindless filler that permeates its cracks. Souljacker is certainly a welcome addition to any fans Eels collection, but due to its weaker batch of tracks, it's hard to recommend it to newcomers.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 3:56
2 4:25
3 3:39
4 2:44
blue highlight denotes track pick