"Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire" by Eels

Eels
Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire

Vagrant Records
2009

Review

"Hombre" means "Man". "Hambre" means "Hunger". So even though E mispronounces a word from the title of the album in "Tremendous Dynamite" (at least to my ear) I suppose it a strange way it sort of works. What you have here - at their best - is a collection of songs about a man who is hungry to be a better one. At worst you get some decent lullabies. But when E (aka Mark Oliver Everett) is looking at the girl from a far lamenting how he'll never get her - that's when we get the best that Eels has to offer.

With a voice like E's, how could you not sing with a bit of sadness in your voice? That gravely voice was made for "why not me" music and there are a great many moments that could have very well been my soundtrack to life in high-school. I don't mean that in any way to sound like an insult. It's more that the feelings of sadness most resonate with me in terms of those memories of all the girls I had crushes on that would have just preferred to stay friends. This is evident in my favorite song on the album, "The Look You Give That Guy" where E sings:

I never thought that I could be so bold
To even say these thoughts aloud
I see with your man your eyes just shine
While he stands tall and walking proud
That look you give that guy I want to see looking back at me
If I could be that guy instead of me
I'd never let you down

...see what I mean? This theme is carried in the also excellent "My Timing Is Off:

My timing is off
She isn't ready for my love
It's all that I got
But it's a pretty penny

Eels are great at the sad lullaby but in one of the few uptempo affairs "Tremendous Dynamite" they manage to kick it up from lullaby to rocking blues. It almost makes me wish there was a bit more of that style of song on the album but on the other hand there are some fantastic downtempo rock ballads on the album. Sometimes they aren't interesting enough, but they are never terrible. This album won't rock your world but it will give you a great soundtrack to spend some moments in deep contemplation. If that sounds like something you can dig, give this one a look.

4.083 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. Prizefighter (02:53) 4
2. That Look You Give That Guy (04:15) 5
3. Lilac Breeze (02:35) 4
4. In My Dreams (03:22) 5
5. Tremendous Dynamite (02:45) 5
6. The Longing (04:22) 2
7. Fresh Blood (04:23) 3
8. What's a Fella Gotta Do (03:24) 3
9. My Timing Is Off (02:57) 5
10. All the Beautiful Things (02:22) 4
11. Beginner's Luck (03:37) 4
12. Ordinary Man (03:17) 5