Release Date: 04.08.03
Record label: spinART
All the Little Girl Elephants Cry
by: bill aicher
When it was announced that Eels frontman, E, would be releasing a hip-hop/dance album under the moniker of an animated (cartoon) old white man named MC Honky, the collective ears of Eels fans worldwide immediately perked up. Throughout countless releases championing superb, introspective songwriting and a penchant for musical construction, Eels had always held a bit of oddity in their weird little songs.
While MC Honky's debut album doesn't stray too far from the elastic boundaries already put in place for legitimate Eels releases, it does stretch them quite a bit. One notable difference here though is the near absence of E's vocals. Sure, he makes an appearance on "Hung Up" and in a few other places, but the casual listener would be hard-pressed to pick up on this... especially after the massive processing that's been applied to the vocals.
Where I Am the Messiah succeeds is in it's overall quirkiness. It's a little bit Mutations-era Beck, a bit "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues" and a bit R&B... but it's all weird and funky and cool. "Baby Elephant Rock-a-Bye" starts out with a flute sample that could have been featured in a Zelda videogame, then breaks into one of the sweetest beats and basslines you've heard on any DJ Shadow album. On the other hand, "A Good Day to Be You" features Kool G Murder offering up smooth spoken word vocals in praise of that special person in his life. It's a fucked-up R&B love track that purposefully goes to far in its compliements, flying in the face of any traditional smooth-talking track.
So basically, MC Honky doesn't end up so much in the hip-hop vein as had been the initial word, and instead is a crazy little record that's a refreshing response to popular trends, and it's definitely one of the more interesting side projects to hit shelves lately. 06-Aug-2003 6:00 PM