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Eels
Souljacker
label: dreamworks
released: 09.24.01 (UK) 01.02 (U.S.)
our score: 4.0 out of 5.0
amazon

Get Jacked
by: peter naldrett - uk correspondent

All too often the quality bands leave three or four years between their albums, so we should all be highly delighted that the Eels have graced the charts with their second album in little over 18 months.

Souljacker, named after the media’s nickname for a serial killer in the 1990s, is a darker affair than Daisies Of The Galaxy, returning them back to the firmer roots of their foundation album Beautiful Freak and the follow-up, Electro-Shock Blues. But Souljacker is more mature than these first two recordings, even if it does harbour a similar gloomy feel that E seemed to have left behind in the years after his mother’s death.

The depressing sound of "Woman Driving, Man Sleeping" and "Fresh Feeling" are performed in the typical Eels style that leave you pensive, but with a memorable tune in the head, soon finding yourself singing along. The classics on Souljacker are many, and typified by "Dog Faced Boy," an opener that introduces us to their new deep bass sound, which keeps making an appearance elsewhere on the record.

"Bus Stop Boxer" is also a carefully crafted tune with a haunting guitar and brilliantly sung chorus, while "Jungle Telegraph" is a manic rush of a track about a man who is born in a storm, grows up to be a prostitute, kills a man and runs off to Africa to live his life out high in a tree. Work that one out if you can, but the Mississippi interlude in the middle of it is a sheer delight, just like the Latin influence that carves "That’s Not Really Funny" into such a remarkable song.

The "Souljacker" murderer was so named because he claimed to steel the souls of the people that he had killed, and part of the newly bearded E’s mission was to show that living in a soulless world was empty and ugly, a theme definitely explored in "World Of Shit."

The Eels may not be everybody’s cup of tea, they are not upbeat, you can’t really dance to them and some tracks are so depressing that all sharp instruments should be hidden away before you listen to it in case you try to harm yourself. But the repeated musical and vocal quality of their albums cannot be ignored, and Souljacker simply builds on the impressive foundations they had already laid.
02-Oct-2001 10:12 PM


If you liked Souljacker...

Tracklist:
1. Dog Faced Boy
2. That's Not Really Funny
3. Fresh Feeling
4. Woman Driving, Man Sleeping
5. Souljacker, Pt. 1
6. Friendly Ghost
7. Teenage Witch
8. Bus Stop Boxer
9. Jungle Telegraph
10. World of Shit
11. Souljacker, Pt. 2
12. What Is This Note?