On his tenth album under the Eels moniker, Mark "E" Everett continues to follow his musical muse wherever it'll take him with Wonderful, Glorious. After so many records it seems like E would be well past the point of any new firsts, but this is the first album to be recorded in his expansive new studio, mysteriously named The Compound, as well as the first album written in collaboration with the rest of the band. This more open, organic process comes through on the songs, providing E and company with a refreshing amount of creative freedom after the relative confinement of doing a conceptual three-album trilogy (2009's Hombre Lobo and 2010's End Times and Tomorrow Morning). While this process and studio have made their impact musically, Eels fans can rest assured that E's melancholic, beaten-down lyricism remains intact. Proclaiming "Every time I find myself in this old bind, watching the death of all my hopes/In the ring so long gonna prove 'em wrong, I'm not knocked out but I'm on the ropes" during the sad yet hopeful "On the Ropes," the album finds Everett in a more grounded and, relatively, positive place. This feeling is reinforced on "New Alphabet," where Everett lets us know "It's looking good, I dug my way out/I'm changing up what the story's about," making it clear that this new way of making music is working for him both artistically and personally, and though there's plenty of evidence that E is still out there suffering for his art, it seems that his days are a little less dark than usual.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2